banginâ€™ styles from burlingtonâ€™s best
kicking it in b-town from A to Z Four Corners: the search for perfection also: bread & puppet, blue buddha and bern gallery
“Let’s start a magazine!” And so it all began. It seemed easy enough – just talk to some people, write some words, take some pictures and slap it all together. Obviously we knew what was cool, so that wasn’t a problem. Burlington is crawling with coolness. phoebe. was born. She was beautiful, fresh and exciting, and we were in love. Ambition clouded our judgment, soon this fun little “side project” would engulf us. We questioned our sanity, nearly giving up at least four times in three months. But she wouldn’t let us go. Every time we gave up, more people jumped on board, took some of the burden and things brightened up. phoebe., it seemed, was romantically involved with more than just one person. We all made it work. But that was the beauty of the idea. It was all about one place. It just happened that this place was Burlington, a creative melting pot literally dripping with cool. You can’t turn a corner in this place without running into someone you know. More importantly, you turn that same corner and you inevitably meet a handful of new people that are the most unique, dynamic, and creatively compelling people you’ve ever met – until the next day, when you meet more. And that’s what Burlington is about. Creativity. Collaboration. Community. It’s just so damn awesome. It’s a launching pad for new talent and an anodyne for the old ones to live out their days
quietly. Nowhere else can the tightest hipster share the same cultural groove with a thugged-out hip-hopper and a heady dreadlock. Everyone puts in a little and we all get a lot. “Let’s start a magazine!” turned into weekend drives to Glover to tour the Bread & Puppet Museum, four hours of unpaid modeling on an abandoned strip off Route 7, conducting interviews in Muddy Waters over the shouts of an anxious bus full of Canadian tourists fresh from the slopes, touring the lakeshore in search of the legendary “Champ”, and much more. phoebe. can never fully repay the generosity that this community has given to her project. She can try – and she will – to document the popular culture of Burlington in an appealing and celebratory manner. We love phoebe. And phoebe. loves you. Thank you, and enjoy,
Connor Boals & Lily March Founders, phoebe.
editorial staff Connor Boals hails from Grand Rapids, Michigan where his family has a llama. He hates mustard but loves Robbie Williams, Fritos Corn Chips and the Wu – Tang Clan. He likes to mix his hip-hop clothes with his J.Crew clothes. He also falls down a lot. Seriously, he falls down a lot.
Jhani Griffin hails from the ridiculouslyfar-away San Francisco Bay Area. She is set to graduate in May as an English major and Anthropology minor. She plans to stay in Burlington for one more year in hopes of sighting Champ, the Lake Monster. Her interests include art, literature, culture and playing hardcore scrabble.
Bobby Bruderle hates it when people ask him to write interesting blurbs about himself. He also likes taking pictures and keeping it real.
Magdalena Jensen is a peacemaker who’s struggling to pull together her fashion obsession with her commitment to social justice. She’s an insomniac, loves “The Girls Next Door,” and has a weakness for Michael Jackson. Her favorite museum is the MOMA because the cheapest hot dog stand in NYC is right outside. And she’s sad that Jay-Z is off the market.
Robert Downey is an English and Film major from Washington D.C., aka Chocolate City. He is the Arts and Entertainment Editor of the Vermont Cynic and the rising Editor of Vantage Point, UVM’s student art and literary magazine. Robert is fond of Go-Go music, mambo sauce, blue crabs and the way Japanese peonies smell in spring.
Lily March is an Art major from the Massachusetts coast with a penchant for clean, crisp lines -- really to the point of OCD. She really, really, loves toast with butter, typography, Vermont in the spring/ summer/fall, white wine with ice cubes, Alex Trebek, scrabs, questioning the future, carhartt butt, neodisco and dogs. Oh, yeah, and late night ‘za.
Jason Gold is a New York native who moved to Vermont because, who cares about Boston? Burlington’s eccentric culture has also allowed him to exercise his passion for photography. A junior environmental studies major, Jason hikes, bikes and drinks 40s of Olde English whenever he can.
Born to famous salt and pepper tycoons Ted and Sheryl Shaker in 1986, Molly Shaker quickly learned that she has a prowess for reading, writing and neutral coloured clothing. Molly enjoys things such as dinner parties, expensive sandwiches and standing still at concerts.
CONNOR BOALS: EDITORIAL DIRECTOR LILY MARCH: ART DIRECTOR JASON GOLD: PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR AND WEB MASTER MOLLY SHAKER: ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR MAGDALENA JENSEN: STYLE EDITOR ROBERT DOWNEY: LIFE AND ART JHANI GRIFFIN: PRODUCTION MANAGER BOBBY BRUDERLE: LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: EMILY SEGAL, ALEXANDER WHITEHEAD, DAVID SMOLER, ALEX TORRES CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: CHRIS KILLORAN, ANDREW DETULLIO, HAL KRAMER, TRESSIE LAFAY, JULIA TADDONIO, DEVIN KLEIN, CONOR MCARDLE, LEWIS RAPKIN, TAYLOR SEVERNS, KATHERINE ROBINSON, EMMY LAWRENCE, ELYSE GENDERSON, OLIVIA SAPERSTEIN MODELS: JAKE MINK, KATE ANTIK, KENDALL TICHNER, TIMMY THE WELSH CORGI
4 Tranquil as Hell 6 Bread & Puppet 9 Bern, Baby, Bern 10 Tick Tick 11 Dug Nap 13 “Fixie” style 14 It’s a Big Heavy World 15 Switchback 16 The Existential Sandwich 20 Greater Burlington 25 The Aztext 28 Super Yay! 30 Static Bean 31 Timecoding Tokyo 35 What Might Lie Beneath 40 Green Fashion 41 Steez 42 The Très Chic Rundown 43 Concrete Runway 55 The Practical Guide An interview with Blue Buddha Co-Owner, Rachel Schilling Cheap Art With a Rich Message The Art of Fire
An interview with an eccentric local artist
The pros/cons of a Kanye West endorsement
music for the (Vermont) masses
The Future of Vermont Microbrews
Four Corners and the Decadence of Simplicity
5 locations redefining community standards
Hip Hop’s #2 in Croatia
Twee Pop with The Smittens
Radio Bean is Burlington’s artsy café
A Non-Fiction Story from Tokyo
The Story Behind Champ, the Lake Monster
Not Just for Hippies
Makin’ and Takin’ Money Since ’97
Trends for Spring/Summer ’08
Winter Fashion Sets on Burlington Addresses and Contacts
Vermont native, and painter for most of her life, tattooing just â€œfell in her lapâ€? while she was sketching in the park in New Orleans. Now, she gets to travel the world, tattooing wherever she goes, while also co-owning the Blue Buddha Tattoo shop on Main Street. Yup, the tattoo biz is booming, not just locally, but nationally, and Rachel seems nothing but satisfied.
When I walked into the shop, the vibe was relaxed and friendly, despite the photo of a gun on the wall that immediately caught my eye. There were dark and bloody pictures surrounding the shop, yet they were strikingly beautiful and unique, probably because most of them were painted by Rachel herself. The only thing that may have been more beautiful than the art on the wall was the art that covered Rachel’s body (I couldn’t help but stare at the little “Montréal shit fly” on her hand). She was tired from a busy week and suffering from a cold that day, but looked especially fresh and was more than ready to talk. phoebe.magazine: So, which tattoo was your first? Rachel Schilling: It’s on my back. It’s a little moon and star. p.m: When did you get that? RS: I was fifteen and didn’t know my ass from my foot. (Laughter). It was a cover up of a cover up of a cover up…I usually recommend not getting a tattoo until you don’t like Spongebob anymore. p.m: Haha true. In what situation will you not tattoo someone? RS: If it’s someplace really visible and they don’t have any other tattoos. I’m not gonna tattoo some 20 year old chick’s neck that doesn’t have any other tattoos. It’s more accepted than it has been in society, but there are still corporate jobs that will frown upon it. I don’t like to turn away business, but I’d rather do the right thing. p.m: Were you ever afraid that you were going to mess up on someone? Have you ever? RS: Uh, yeah I’ll never forget the first time I tattooed skin, I was freaking scared out of my gourd. I did a tiny little Pisces symbol on my sister’s foot.
It took me like 45 minutes to do something that would take me like three minutes now. If someone says, “no I’ve never fucked up a tattoo” they’re lying. Shit happens. But being good at what you do is knowing how to fix stuff. p.m: So what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever tattooed on someone? RS: Oh god … I’ve tattooed everything from ladybugs on penises, and that was years ago, and there was like a $300 handling fee with that, to like, you know, a huge skull on the back of somebody’s head. You know, just everything. There’s not “weirdest,” there’s no “tamest.” What’s weird to somebody is totally normal to another person. p.m: I bet you meet all sorts of people. RS: Oh yeah. Vermont’s very tame. We don’t get the riff raff, which is nice, ’cause I’ve worked in some nasty ass shops where all you get is riff raff at three in the morning and you have to keep a gun under the counter. p.m: Oh my god … RS: Some seedy shit happens in the French quarter [of New Orleans] at three in the morning.
“Being a woman in the business, we’re kind of few and far between. More so, I mean, there’s a lot more women now. Sometimes someone will come in here and say ‘I wanna talk to a tattooer.’ And I’m like, ‘I own the shop, I’ve been tattooing longer than anybody here.’ But that really doesn’t happen much anymore.” And it’s a good thing, cause this girl doesn’t just know her shit--her art has reached enlightenment.
p.m: Where else have you lived outside of Vermont? RS: I lived in Boulder, Colorado, right after high school, and then New Orleans, and then New York for a while. This has been home base basically all my life. But I love to travel and luckily tattooing takes me all over the world. I go to conventions and I have a lot of friends that have other shops so I do a lot of guest spots. I’ll go on working vacations basically, so I’ll stay for a week and tattoo while I’m there. I’m going to Dublin in April; I’ll be in Belgium for a couple days, and then Rome for the Roma expo. Next year I’m going to Thailand. You should go to Thailand it’s so cheap. If you go with $500 you can live like a king for a month. p.m: Wow, I’ll keep that in mind. So how did you come up with the name “the Blue Buddha?” RS: Well, I’m Buddhist. p.m: What kind of Buddhism do you practice? RS: Pretty much Zen, pretty mellow. It’s resonated more than any other religion. p.m: How would you define your style? RS: I concentrate mostly on Western traditional style tattooing, traditional Americana with my own twist to it. Also traditional Japanese stuff. We do a lot of big pieces. p.m: Was it hard for you guys to get off the ground? RS: No, we had it pretty easy compared to some others. Myself and my apprentice were working at Counter
Culture on Church Street and I’ve been here for so long that I had a huge client basis already, so I knew that going into it, and I was booked right off the bat. So that was really good. It took like two and a half months of really hard work to get this thing going, and a lot of nose from people, but we lucked out. p.m: What do you think about shows like Miami Ink and LA Ink? RS: I think in ways it’s good because it’s brought it to people that wouldn’t necessarily know anything about it, but in some ways it’s blown it up to the extent that now the market is so flooded. I always say that there are like, so many tattooers out there now that like 80 percent of them are mediocre, or suck. That there’s like not even like 30 percent of tattooers out there that are actually good or above average. You have to remember that it’s edited. If you walk in there on any given day you’re gonna get a day crew that you won’t even recognize. It skewed the view of it, but I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, right? p.m: Yeah I think it’s cool how you can see the story behind the tattoo. RS: Yeah, ’cause everybody has a story. INTERVIEW BY OLIVIA SAPERSTEIN PHOTOS BY BOBBY BRUDERLE For more information on the Blue Buddha, check out their mySpace page at mySpace.com/bluebuddhatattoo. The website, www.bluebuddhavt.com, will be up and running in a few months.
bread & puppet
cheap art with a rich message Towards the top of a quiet mountain road in the Northeast Kingdom town of Glover, there is a school bus parked in the driveway of a tired farmhouse. The bus in the driveway has been painted blue and that blue paint is chipping in places. It’s covered in pictures of suns and trees, among other things, and looks as though children painted it. Above the windows it says “BREAD AND PUPPET.” The art on this school bus is cheap. It’s cheap art. Welcome to the world of Bread & Puppet, a radically political puppet theatre company that has been creating awareness and controversy on an international scale since 1962. This farmhouse is home to the company’s museum -- not to mention the home of the puppeteers. That bus isn’t even their biggest, most outrageous prop. And cheap art is their philosophy: “Cheap Art hopes to reestablish the appreciation of artistic creation by making it available to a wider audience and inspire anyone to revel in an art making process that is not subject to academic approval or curatorial acceptance.” This is Bread and Puppet’s philosophy according to their Web site. Here, the Cheap Art philosophy seems overly wordy and complex for something as seemingly simple as a puppet theatre. This philosophy is even rooted in the theatre’s name, which reflects far more than Bread and Puppet’s bread bakery, whose goods are often sold at shows, Peter Schumann, the company’s founder, said. “[Schumann’s] written things that say that theatre should nourish you the same way bread nourishes you,” Linda Elbow, Bread and Puppet’s manager, said. This is the beauty of the company. Bread and Puppet gives us as complex or simple of a show as we’d like. Performances – which are held on various stages around the country (and sometimes overseas) during the “off-season” and at the Bread and Puppet farm during the warmer months – vary depending on current world issues and affairs. Founded in 1962 in New York City, Bread and Puppet is anything but your average puppet theatre. Schumann’s ultimate goal may be a bit far fetched – “we want to get rid of these miserable fascist governments,” the German born puppet master said -- but this certainly hasn’t stopped him and his group of puppeteers from furiously creating some of the most head-turning puppets around. Their physical appearance is intoxicating, to say the least. Elbow says one of the bigger puppets, Mother
Earth, has an arm span of nearly 80 feet. Though many of the puppets are enormous in size (though not all), the most striking aspect of Bread and Puppet’s shows are the stories that they tell. In March, the company performed “The Divine Reality Comedy” at St. Michael’s College in Winooski with student volunteers. Offering an inyour-face kind of interpretation of Dante’s Divine Comedy, this performance, turned Dante’s Hell into Guantanamo Bay, where the audience watches three cases of torture inflicted on three massive puppets. The ideas for shows like “The Divine Reality Comedy,” according to Elbow, come from whatever is going on in the world. Schumann, an avid fan of political radio show “Democracy Now,” will come up with an idea for his next show, do some research and, if good enough, will turn it into a show. “Sometimes we’ll be taking a lunch break [during rehearsal] and we’ll come back and some people will be there early and they’ll be fooling around with some puppets and Peter will walk in and say, ‘okay, let’s develop this,’” Elbow said. “The big ideas come from Peter but he gets very frustrated if we’re not generating stuff to take a look at.” In the early ’70s Bread and Puppet moved from New York City to Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. Moving from the city to the country has played a major role in the theatre’s evolution. “Vermont is very different from New York City,” Schumann
said. “We’re in the country now.” The farm, Elbow said, is an old dairy farm that Schumann’s wife’s parents bought in the ’60s. But now, it’s what the puppeteers and the Bread and Puppet print shop call home. This is also the site of the Bread and Puppet museum -- an old, unheated barn that is also “home” to all of the puppets used in performances. Puppets of every shape, size and color – primarily made of paper mache and cardboard -- are everywhere you look. Literally. The upper level of the museum stores the “big stuff,” Elbow said. Some of the biggest puppets live here – Mother Earth included. Each puppet is rather carefully propped on the walls, the floor and even the ceilings. In the summer, the farm hosts weekly “circuses,” as the company calls them, followed by a “pageant.” The circus is performed in a so-called “natural amphitheatre.” “When they were building I-91, they took tons of gravel out of there and we were sort of left with this natural amphitheatre,” Elbow said. “So the circus happens there and then, around that, are beautiful fields. The pageant takes place in some piece of that landscape and in the pine forest.” For a number of reasons, Bread and Puppet seems to epitomize the eclectic, creative energy that is so defining of the many aspects of the Vermont lifestyle. At the
moment, there are three Bread and Puppet puppeteers, one being North Carolina native Noah Harrell, age 27. During the off-season, the puppeteers spend a lot of time gearing up for their next tour, preparing props, and, as the weather begins to get warmer, planting seeds in the garden. Recently, the puppeteers have also been sugaring. “That takes up a lot of our time,” Harrell said. “Our director has a sugar bush up behind his house.” Harrell, a former theatre student at Trinity College in Connecticut, said that he made his move from his home state of North Carolina to the Northeast Kingdom, because of Bread and Puppet. “I saw them when they came to Trinity,” he said. “I was intrigued.” Since last August, Harrell’s life has been devoted to being a puppeteer. “This is full time work,” he said. “ [Bread and Puppet] doesn’t really make money. When we’re on tour, we’re paid by our host organization – the college or community center will pay to bring us down there, which brings in a little income.” Because all Bread and Puppet shows are free, a lot of the money is brought in by the Bread and Puppet Press, which sells things like posters. The responsibilities of a Bread and Puppet puppeteer are widespread. Harrell said that the biggest challenge to life as a puppeteer is juggling all of these tasks. “We
have to keep the place going and not falling down,” he said. “Keeping a consistent flow of ideas and a response to what’s going on around us for the shows – keeping that kind of balance.” These days, Bread and Puppet is working on shows such as performances that poke fun at the ongoing presidential elections. But why does this theatre company choose to convey their overtly political and often intensely dark messages with puppets? Bread and Puppet’s use of puppets is most likely linked to Schumann’s love for puppets as a child, Elbow said. Like the company’s philosophy, though, the meaning behind this art form is deeply rooted. “Puppets make use of everything. They make use of sculpture, music, painting, dance. Puppets do everything,” Schumann said. Unlike performing with just live actors, puppets allow for the creation of convincing archetypes. “You can break them up,” Elbow said. “You can kill them. You can resurrect them. You can make them fly. You can do everything with puppets.” MOLLY SHAKER PHOTOS JASON GOLD
PUPPETS ADORN THE BREAD & PUPPET FARMHOUSE IN GLOVER, VT
bern, baby, bern
the art of fire
When the Bern Gallery opened four and a half years ago, it set out to offer an upscale and comfortable venue for local Vermont artists to showcase their work. Since the gallery owners are local artist themselves, they offer a consignment program for artists to sell their pieces and retain a percentage of the profit. The gallery’s consignment section gives Vermont artists space and access to the right clientele to sell their tee shirts, paintings, jewelry, and other one of a kind creations. One of the most unique aspects of the Bern Gallery that sets it apart from other head shops in Burlington are the live glassblowing demonstrations that take place almost daily. Here, patrons can see the artists constructing intricate and distinctive pieces. The best part of on-site glassblowing is requesting custom pipes or funky jewelry, made-toorder. Since the Bern Gallery is committed to flameworking education, they include fully functional workstations and offer one-on-one lessons for people at any skill level. Glass artwork, especially the recent glass pipe movement, has been steadily gaining popularity. Simple pipes that originated out of basic functionality have evolved into a completely new and artistic form of expression, with a unique aesthetic that has replaced mere function. Like graffiti and other elements of hip hop culture, glass pipe-making has evolved into a complex art form utilizing color, shape and a technique all its own. Cannabis culture is constantly hungry for new artistic innovations in glass pipe making, like the Bern Gallery artists’ use of plasma-based pieces, (a colorful one of a kind and interactive effect you have to see to believe). When I arrived at the Bern Gallery, I was able to
see firsthand the technicality and intrigue that goes into “lampworking” glass. I talked with long-time Bern Gallery artist, Eli Schwartz, who explained that lampworking glass is the process of sculpting by twirling thin rods of colored glass over a gas oxygen burner. Eli, a UVM graduate, said he’s been glassblowing for about 16 years. “My parents bought me a torch and a bunch of glass when I graduated from elementary school” he said, “and I’ve been goofing around with it ever since.” “Goofing around” is a pretty modest sentiment to describe the vastly intricate sculptures Eli now creates. “I mostly make wearable art” Eli explains, “like pendants, jewelry, bracelets and rings. I also do some silver smithing and sculpture of different animals and insects.” Since glassblowing is not Eli’s primary source of income, he is free to create whatever inspires him. “I tend to have a more fun style since I don’t do this for money, I don’t have to worry about selling my pieces. I can just use the studio and have fun. I love to play with color and texture. I would never consider this actual work, it’s just fun.” Having studied with some of the glassblowing greats, Eli went to California and worked with mentor, Laurn Stump (a notable paper weight and sculpture artist) and even traveled to Venice, “the Mecca of glassblowing” and the island of Murano to hang out with “crazy-famous glass blowers” Eli told me enthusiastically. Though Eli chose not to make a career out of glassblowing, he has proven that it is not a hobby to be taken lightly. ELYSE GENDERSON
Burlington has a lot of potential; there are tons of alternative spaces for shows, a really strong art and music community and an enthusiastic youthful crowd. Yet directly between Boston and Montreal, in prime location for bands to stop on their tours, Burlington does not have the music scene it could. The Burlington music scene just needs a little support and encouragement, which it has been fortunately receiving for the past two years from the creative members of the Tick Tick design and promotion team. Ticktick.org puts it nicely: “We want nothing more than to expand Burlington's thriving arts scene through community collaboration ... in other words, we want everyone to be involved in the creation of a dynamo.” Since its start in 2006, Tick Tick has acted as a springboard for the artistic community in Burlington and helped put the city on the map for touring bands. The company has vamped Burlington’s music and cultural scene, bringing and promoting bands like Akron/Family, Silver Mount Zion and launching many dance parties. “I feel like Burlington is a perfect place for this. Burlington needs this and that’s why we’re here. The point is about doing it in Vermont and making connections between local bands and changing the culture around Vermont. It’s about Burlington.” Tick Tick calls a little studio behind Battery Street Jeans home, and is made up of members Graham Keegan, Dale Donaldson, Julia Lewandoski, Nick Mavadones, and Noah Hoose. Each contributor has his or her own separate job, so Tick Tick is in essence a work of community service. Tick Tick provides a wonderful way to become connected with the art scene in Burlington. The goal is for people to realize that there are interesting and exciting things happening here. Often set among artwork, in a small and interesting space, Tick Tick creates an experience out of a show. Going to see a band promoted by Tick Tick, or one of their Stereo Warmup dance parties feels more like going to an awesome party in somebody’s home. Stereo Warm-up is a free and fun dance party (if you are 21+; $5 if you are you are 18+) that happens on the last Saturday of each month at the Monkey Bar in Winooski. Every month, Tick Tick features new guest DJs and their official DJ Mike DeVice. EMMY LAWRENCE
tick tick, boom
MEMBERS OF TICK TICK IN THEIR SOUTH END STUDIO
If you’ve been in Burlington long enough to know what’s what, you’ve probably come across some of dug nap’s artwork. His greeting cards and small prints, calling us back to the days of finger painting, are for sale in several of the shops downtown—and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to buy a card that vibrantly suggests we “baRe buTTs NOT ARMS”? nap’s work can be found both in the signage and on the walls of Four Corners of The Earth deli, serving to enhance the sandwich shop’s eclectic décor. But, just because we might be familiar with his work doesn’t mean we know squat about the man behind the art. After spending an hour in his brightly-colored basement on Church Street, nap is still somewhat of a mystery. This artist might be marching to the beat of a slightly different drum, but he is certainly anything but boring. phoebe. magazine: So, you’re from Vermont? dug nap: I grew up in Vermont. I grew up in Montpelier. p.m: You work a lot with text in your painting. dn: I do. I feel like I’m sort of part writer. When I started doing paintings, I used to write lyrics for a band that I had. I was always kind of interested in writing and when I started doing paintings I just felt like they were missing something. They weren’t painterly enough So, I started bringing in text. p.m: And these prints -- did you do them all in a series? dn: I started doing great, big paintings that were more personal, and when I got back into art, it was hard to find places that would buy them because they were kind of personal and they weren’t necessarily anything anyone would want to put behind their couch. Then one day I thought: greeting cards! They have text and images. So I tried a lot of ideas, because a lot of people go, “Oh, this is great and it’s funny, but who am I going to send it to?” p.m: Where do you come up with what you’re going to put on prints? dn: I’m really interested in animals. I have an interest in psychology. I’ve had a ton of therapy -way too much therapy. I’m interested in people. I’m interested in relationships. I read papers a lot. I react to things in newspapers sometimes. They come from a lot of different things, really. p.m: How often are you down here working on visual art rather than writing? dn: I’m at a stage right now where I’ve kind of figured out a lot of new things I want to do. I’m going to start painting a lot more. The writing has kind of pushed some of the painting aside. Some of that initial energy I had from my early painting is now going into some of this writing stuff. If you’re interested in all these different things, then you have to ask yourself, “Okay, what should I be doing?” And I guess it was kind of hard for me to figure that out. p.m: You mentioned that you used to have a band. dn: I did have a band called Pinhead in the early ’80s. We were in Johnson and then we moved to Burlington. After that, I kind of got back into art. p.m: Do you find that your work has changed a lot since you’ve been here? dn: Yes and no. I mean, I’ve tried different things—it’s interesting. I give myself permission to do whatever I want. It’s not that my work has changed, but it probably has because you learn
THE ARTIST IN HIS CHURCH STREET BASEMENT STUDIO
more technical stuff. It’s more of a question of getting better at something. But then you have to question, “Is that really better? Or was it better before you did that?” which is kind of tricky … because who’s to say what’s better? I’ve just tried so many different things.
own gallery? dn: I have thought about opening a little dug nap store. I was thinking about it pretty strongly for a while. But I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that I want to spend more time making stuff as opposed to being my business.
p.m: What do you like to read? dn: I like Phoebes, you know, The Catcher in the Rye. A year or two ago I got rid of my TV because I wanted to read more. I have to go pick up a book at Borders about the bass player for Elvis Costello and The Attractions. He was my favorite bass player. You know that song “Watching the Detectives?” He played bass on that. I’m not really political very much but I’ll just read whatever.
p.m: I’m just curious, when you do the prints, how do you do the letters? dn: I made my own font. I had someone make me a font. I actually have two fonts to sort of mimic.
p.m: You play music, right? dn: I’ve started getting back into music. I play guitar some but I’m probably more of a front person. I started this band called Nerd Bird and then this guy kind of disappeared on me. So, since he wasn’t able to do it anymore, I’m kind of investigating the idea of doing it again. But that’s more like a hobby kind of thing. p.m: Do you ever listen to music while you’re working? dn: Oh, all the time. I have an iPod with like 15,000 songs or something. I listen to that all the time. Do you have an iPod? p.m: I do, yeah. Is there anything that’s your favorite? dn: I’ll kind of jump around. I just like to think of music as being good music — anything from Radiohead, who I’m not that familiar with, to anything classic. Any classical music, a little bit of jazz, folk -- different rock stuff. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Velvet Underground. p.m: Are you mostly based in Burlington, or do you sell anything nationally? dn: I have a little gallery in New York that sells my small paintings. I don’t really have a real gallery and haven’t really had a real gallery. I sell stuff at Frog Hollow on Church Street -- that’s not really a gallery, but I’ve had good luck selling stuff in there. I did a cartoon for a while for Seven Days called “Down to Earth.” I don’t know how long it’s been since I did that. p.m: Did you like doing that? dn: It was kind of fun but it pays very little and you always have to get something new. It wasn’t, wasn’t my real forte. Cartoonists aren’t really painters, I don’t think. p.m: Have you ever thought about opening your
p.m: Do you ever throw anything away? dn: I had this dealer that told me never to throw anything away, just ’cause it’s really interesting to go back on your early stuff. It’s fun to see where you’ve come from. I just was so into art that I’d always have this big ream of paper next to me. I’d always be drawing stuff. p.m: When did you start thinking you’d make a career out of it? dn: When I stopped doing the band, I was just kind of confused. I guess I just have the kind of personality that likes to make stuff. I just felt like I was too old for rock’n’roll anymore and I started thinking, ‘well, what can I do?’ And I worked for Mearl Norman Cosmetics for a really short period of time, because, okay, you’re not in this rock band anymore so you look in the paper and here’s a job at Mearl Norman Cosmetics. And I was thinking I meet all these beautiful women and then they end up thinking you’re gay or something. But I thought, ‘okay, well I sort of get to work with color there, so I would do that.’ I got really into studying color and I learned all these things. I was hospitalized when I was younger and I started doing art then. So, it’s not something that was totally foreign to me. p.m: Do you remember all of them? dn: I have pictures of pretty much everything. I just kind of learned that you want to save everything. p.m: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you? dn: I’m kind of a mixture of things. I’m just this guy who tries all these different things. I made the decision that I really like doing art, so I have to sell art to keep doing it. I mean, I think it’s just horrible to have to do something you don’t like to do. I guess I’m like the guy that does all these different things and hasn’t figured out the whole money thing. But I’m supporting myself — sometimes just barely. My thing is, at least I get up out of bed and I do something I pretty much like to do. INTERVIEW BY TRESSIE LAFAY
“Fixie” style and the pros/cons of a Kanye West endorsement As if riding a single-geared bicycle off the track and beyond the training wheel wasn’t in itself some sort of style-statement, Kanye West’s recent acquisition of a nine-hundred Cinelli Vigorelli track bike has securely planted the “fixie” bike-culture in the dangerous and sometimes controversial realms of “the stylish” and “the hip.” Bike Snob NYC, a venomously critical blog dedicated to “… systematically and mercilessly disassembling, flushing, greasing and re-packing the cycling culture,” raved: “If this is indeed true and not a hoax, the Fixed-Gear Apocalypse may be drawing even nigher than heretofore thought.” In Burlington at least, most think it is upon us. Sadly, fixed-gear riding has become more than just a fun way to show off your sweet skids, huge thighs and incredible backwards peddling technique. Today, you have to look as good, if not better, than your bike to be taken seriously—skills have become secondary. From pink bikes to rolledup jeans, retro garb to ironic handlebars,“fixie” culture has hit big time: Say “Hi!” to the shredders, peddlers.
Jeff Sachs, a one-time biking enthusiast who admits to having given up on the bike scene once he figured out that it was “…a lot easier to drinkand-drive than drink-and-bike,” spoke for the majority of fixed-gear critics. “No one is getting a fixie for its versatility. It’s the fucking ‘chopper’ of bicycles—the James Dean of the peddle world. It’s all style.” Connor Killigrew, a fixed-gear rider, asked, “Are salmon shirts more associated with gingery losers than other types of shirts?” The point was well-taken as I looked down to my pinkish button-up, hands running through my ginger-colored hair. Just because I wear an artifact of style representativ of a stylistic whole (the “preppy” look, perhaps) does not necessarily make me “a part” of such a culture—the same goes for bikes, especially for “fixie” riders. Killigrew continued: “Fixed-gears are habitually ridden by goofy hipsters who give all cyclists a bad name,” Killgrew said. “‘The scene’ is self-righteous and I’m not into that. I’m not a Soho window display. I just like simple, easy-to-handle bikes.”
Killigrew, like most fixed-gear riders, has a problem with defining a “culture of style” in terms of external appearances. Riders don’t want to be labeled as anything, and resent the fact that outsiders have sought to project a sense of directed, stylistic choice-making over what is, fundamentally, a simple fact: fixed-gear bikes are ridden because they are of a simple design, are easy to maintain, and ultimately, are less prone to break down. Perhaps this is why they have become so popular—in a world of such complexity and confusion, a simple bike is a simple pleasure. Maybe Kanye West feels the same way about fixed-gear bikes, maybe his purchase of an expensive “fixie” isn’t a style statement at all— ultimately, it’s impossible to tell. In any case, his “endorsement” has indirectly raised the “fixie” look and so-called “fixed-gear attitude” to the status of the fashionable, to the utter dismay, or perhaps complete delight, of fixed-gear riders in Burlington, and around the globe. CONOR MCARDLE
big heavy world
Burlington has always harbored a rich musical environment. Iit makes sense that an organization should work to maximize the scene by helping musicians, enthusiasts, and the future generation of music fans. This is where Big Heavy World comes in. Founded in 1996 by James Lockridge, Big Heavy World is a grassroots music foundation aimed at uniting regional musicians within various projects with the goal of bringing recognition to Vermont’s diverse music community. “Grassroots” in every sense of the word, Big Heavy World works hands-on with young volunteers from the community to provide services, education, and countless other events. To get the lowdown on all the great work Big Heavy World does, I spoke with Ryan Krushenick, outreach and development coordinator. Doing everything from grant writing, managing the volunteers, to troubleshooting the radiator, Ryan is an integral part of the staff. Ryan got started in video production at fifteen, as a compromise to avoid expulsion from high school. He ran a TV station in Warren, VT where he grew up. “In high school, I really didn’t do well.” Ryan explained. “My grades were really lacking, I was getting in lots of trouble, suspensions and such, and I was facing expulsion.” “They decided to give me some job training at a sub-division station of ESPN for the different snowboarding mountains near Sugarbush. I worked there for two years and learned really valuable video and live editing skills. When I was seventeen, I got my GED and moved to Burlington, and started going to shows. I introduced my self to a person taping a show, and asked what he was doing. He explained he was filming for the non-profit foundation, Big Heavy World. So, I came up and met Jim briefly, and just after talking to him for five minutes, I was on the staff. I started filming various shows around town, and ended up teaching many volunteers how to use the cameras. I did this for a while and eventually, AmeriCorps had a spot open and I was able to get paid for working here. I’m actually the only paid employee at Big Heavy World.” The opportunity to learn video production during a turbulent period in Ryan’s life gave him the skills and motivation to work in the field. “I don’t know where I’d be without that,” Ryan said. Helping at-risk youth Ryan’s shaky high school beginnings and the turnaround opportunity of learning video production inspired him to create two outreach programs for local at-risk and impoverished youth. The programs build job skills and confidence in video editing, camera work, running a radio station, and DJing. “It’s really exciting for me, because I get to give back. Learning these skills in high school shaped the career path I’m taking and hopefully it can do the same for these kids.” Music preservation Aiming to preserve music is a huge priority and that is why Big Heavy World has created a comprehensive archive of most every Vermont band, inclusive of all genres. The Vermont Music Library contains over 3,000 titles of live shows and video footage. It is the only place to research every Vermont band and hear their current music and previous recordings. A lot of the CDs are out of circulation and in some cases the bands are not around anymore; there is no other place to access this music. The archive ensures these titles do not go extinct and provides listening stations for fans to revisit their favorite Vermont artists.
BIG HEAVY DUDE: RYAN KRUSHENICK
Helping artists generate income The Vermont Music Shop is a collection of CDs put together on a website dedicated to selling only Vermont music. Creating a focal point for VT artists by bringing together all genres, the Shop picks up where the “local” sections of CD stores leave off. Showcasing local music The Big Heavy World record label releases themed compilations of Vermont artists. The goal is to be all-encompassing – the compilations give any band that puts energy and emphasis into their music the chance to be heard on a professionally mastered disc and gain some recognition. It is a great opportunity for teen bands who cannot afford to make a pristine recording. Thus, Big Heavy World does it for them while simultaneously involving teenage volunteers in every step of the process. Education and building job skills are paramount. Not a typical record label, it is all about the art, not about releasing a marketable product. A unique foundation grounded in enriching, preserving, and motivating Burlington’s music scene, Big Heavy World is a rocking force in the community. ELYSE GENDERSON
Switchback and the future of Vermont microbrews 15
SWITCHBACK HAS BEEN GOING STRONG SINCE THE FIRST KEG WAS TAPPED IN 2002
A tasty beverage at the bar after a long day of work or a stressful week of class is a commonly chosen way of letting your hair down and keeping relaxed. Vermonters encourage and welcome upand-coming microbrews with thirsty mouths. One beer to recently take Burlington by storm is its very own Switchback. Just outside the downtown area is a warehouse where Switchback is brewed daily. A small sign bearing the Switchback logo marks the building. This April, the Switchback brewery is celebrating six years of hard work and dedication to their finely tuned and richly flavored beer. The first keg of Switchback was tapped in October of 2002 at Ake’s Place. Pinpointing exactly what kind of beer Switchback makes is not an easy undertaking. Master brewer and owner, Bill Cherry, says that the beer’s signature taste has an unusual story behind it. “Parts of the beer are derived from beer that I hate,” he says. “The brew student [Cherry has his Masters degree in brewing from UC -
Davis] in me has a bad beer and tries to figure out, ‘Well, what is good about it? Why do people drink it?’” Deciphering why people drink those certain beers, he then utilizes those qualities in Switchback. Cherry does not even like to call the beer a microbrew. He prefers the term “craftbrew,” meaning that he fancies himself as an artist and the drink is the medium. The style he created is inspired and is made for people to truly enjoy, not just consume because they can. Switchback is not just a brand, it is a flavor. Switchback is an entirely original brew. Cherry does not believe in entering his beer into competitions because he believes that “each individual knows what beer is best for them.” But Switchback could not enter these competitions anyway because the beer violates every style guideline for beer competitions. It is not a pale ale, a lager, a stout, or anything else conventional. Switchback’s classification has no straight answer. If hard pressed, Cherry gives you the technical answer and says, “unfiltered, naturally carbonated ale that leads with fruit and hops at the front of the palate and then has a malty taste that wipes the bitterness out of the back of the palate.” You have to give the man credit, there is no other drink that can be described so accurately and is so different from any other. Right now, the beer is only available in kegs, on tap in Vermont and in ten locations in New Hampshire (they had to beg for it!). Eventually, the brewery intends to offer the drink bottled, but for now is content to stay local. Switchback has found a home in Vermont and the approach Bill and company take to brewing and marketing their beverage is reflective of the Vermont lifestyle: down to Earth, meticulously crafted, and locally owned, operated and supported. A “switchback” is a road with sharp curves going up or down a mountain because it is too steep to go straight up. Cherry views this as a metaphor for life, that “it may not be the fastest route, but if you try hard enough you will get there,” and thought it was the most appropriate name for the beer. Starting out as a one-man operation with only four tanks for brewing and now moving up to five employees and 20 tanks, Cherry is speedily moving along his own Switchback. HAL KRAMER
LADISLAV PANCISIN PREPARES A SALMON DINNER DISH IN THE FOUR CORNERS KITCHEN
The Existential Sandwich: Four Corners and the Decadence of Simplicity
To the untrained eye, Four Corners of the Earth is a restaurant. Yet, something’s different. Maybe it’s the couch stolen from your grandmother’s living room, or the jovial genie imprisoned in porcelain, his hand out asking for change. Four Corners bears a closer resemblance to an art gallery with a kitchen installation than it does a deli. A hunch tells me it’s all the owner, Ladislave Pancisin (commonly known as Ladsa) enjoying a smoke on the brick patio out front. I want to compare him to a Soviet general on holiday, rough yet relaxed, eccentric but practical; his black pants stuffed into his high snow boots. Ladsa is the mystery that has brought me here, not the taste of his infamous sandwiches, which anyone who’s had the pleasure will admit are delicious. If you are not in this club, hold your accusations of bias until you have experienced the sublime pleasure of a “Jamaican Avocado” on an eternally overcast February afternoon. Penetrating the humble stone exterior of 310 Pine Street, you find yourself at the doorstep of an eccentric chef’s festooned lair. Wind chimes dangle silently at the threshold while unemployed dolls stand queued for attention in the windowsill. A mischievous redheaded ventriloquist dummy, the reincarnation of a freckle-faced extra from a ’90s horror movie ponders the menu; all the while encapsulated in a keychain-cameo—it could be the priceless remnant of Mary Shelley’s estate sale—Frankenstein seems unconcerned with the world around him. If this kitsch could talk, the air would be thick with multiplicity. A pair of endlessly smiling tribal masks stare jovially across the room, hoping to coax a forbidden smile from Mother Mary standing somberly, stretched upon an opposing canvas. Four Corners could be featured in an eclectic Eye Spy book (can you find the painting of a topless vixen riding an elephant?), giving new meaning to the adage, “A picture is worth 1835 words.” Even the sandwich menu, a simple list of internationally themed names written in a quasi-legible cryptic script is visually overwhelming. If you’re trying to decide between the “Havana Ham” and the “Cuban Pork,” Ladsa won’t tell you the difference. Instead, he’ll ask, “do you like pickles?” (one of his favorite ingredients); if the answer is “yes” he’ll start making a “Cuban Pork.” During the day, Ladsa’s deliberately unclear menu constantly incites customers to ask questions. The components for any one sandwich are not set in stone because Ladsa is subject to the same confines of product availability as a civilian chef. He acknowledges this limitation, and seems to embrace it reserving the right to substitute kimchi for coleslaw if the cabbage at the market is not up to par or because he simply feels like it. “Do you take Visa?” a burly, ravenous man asks with a pang of desperation. Ladsa
answers his question with a question, asking how much cash the guy has. “Five bucks,” he replies his eyes glued to Ladsa’s hands as they assemble the inner workings of an “Argentinean Beef” sandwich on a sheet of tin foil. The sandwich costs $7.13. Ladsa transforming into Jay Stewart from “Let’s Make a Deal” disregards this detail assuring the guy they can work something out. Listening to this conversation and watching the scene unfold, I wonder: how many free sandwiches has it taken Ladsa to decorate his walls? The big hungry man, acting out of malnourished delusion, chooses to leave in search of an ATM. Ladsa returns to our conversation asking, “So, you wanna make dinner, when should we do it?” We settle on a date to cook together in two weeks. The hungry man with five bucks never resurfaces, so Ladsa offers me his sandwich, which I accept with semi-riotous adulation. Walking home from the restaurant, I hope optimistically that this will be my chance to unearth some of Ladsa’s secrets. What follows is the reconstruction of my experience. The night we had settled on started out in fine form. With two fingers of Jack Daniel’s in the bag, I felt ready for a night filled with the promise of awkwardness and enlightenment. When I arrived, Ladsa was pleasantly surprised. “I didn’t expect to you to show up,” he told me. The first test of the night, besides actually getting there, was soon to follow. “It’s after hours, so we drink Johnny Walker,” he told me, an air of challenge in his voice as he handed me a wine glass. It was the culinary equivalent of the game, “whose bones will break first?” that men play when they shake hands for the first time. After toasting we set down the empty glasses and go outside for a smoke. Sean, one of the personalities at Four Corners was the only other person there. We tested the bounds of polite conversation, chatting about the weather, the story and the meal we were about to cook together before going back inside. When we turned to go in, we realized that we’d been locked out. Ladsa used my phone to call Sean and he let us in. I relaxed in the knowledge that this night would be a funny story, if nothing else. Two weeks ago if I heard about a restaurant run on ideology and philosophy, I would have probably stopped listening. Before cooking with Ladsa I thought that a restaurant was a place built on recipes, where order and replication were implicit, and the customer affected the final product only in their consumption. When I asked Ladsa if I could make a sandwich and he humbly agreed, I was forced to throw all my prior conceptions about restaurants into the primordial garbage
disposal. We began, but it seemed his directions were all approximate. I put three pieces of lamb down as instructed, then, he added three more. When I piled two handfuls of coleslaw on the mound of lamb he added two more. I knew I wasn’t being that cautious with the ingredients, so it all seemed reckless. Sensing my confusion, Ladsa told me, “It’s all about feel, you have to think about the ingredients, consider the customer, do what feels right.” I decide sandwiches are much more subjective than I’d ever imagined. I’m left to conclude that the “feel” Ladsa alludes to begins and ends with him. “The number one rule:” Ladsa proclaimed, shooting a mischievous grin at Sean, “I’m the David Letterman,
you have to do everything so that I look good.” “The concept of the Four Corners of the Earth is intrinsically American. Only in America is such a wide array of ingredients available. Everything you need for world cuisine is available in any supermarket,” Ladsa proclaims with the blunt confidence of a successful immigrant.“ In America, you can do anything you desire.” Though he has embraced America and all its possibilities, he maintains his Slovakian roots, occasionally returning to his homeland to visit his mother and sister. He is the product of his past, a personable goulash, highly disciplined from two years of mandatory service in the Slovakian military. He is logical in his
preparation of sandwiches and brimming with entrepreneurial ingenuity. The “Ladsa Method” is a disciplined rebellion against tradition. It is his flight from traditional cooking and the absence of formal instruction that has allowed his culinary originality. As a self-taught cook, he has gained a unique perspective. “Four Corners” is the product of Ladsa’s education. In the kitchen, Ladsa was not quick to delegate any responsibility to me. Instead of insisting that he let me chop potatoes or peel garlic, I looked to the walls for a topic of conversation. Where had all the decorations that make this place so colorful come from? There must be a story for each one I thought: the Barbie dolls smuggled out of a toy store in Reno, the
canvas of Mother Mary traded for a sheep in Bethlehem. Alas, the answer was simple: he does most of his shopping at yard sales and thrift stores. While I awkwardly asked questions, Ladsa pulled mysterious unmarked jars from his shelves. First, sprinkling a smoky red powder with the utmost caution, then haphazardly dumping half a container of green flakes onto the salmon he had bought for our meal that night. The way he paused to consider every ingredient told me there was no recipe. Instead, he was relying on instinct. Yet, with every spontaneous addition, my curiousity took hold. I had to censor the formalist within who yearned to question this chaos. “Smell this,” he said, offering me a small, clear glass jar. “Paprika,” I offered with
confidence. “Spanish paprika,” he told me with a satisfied smile. “It’s good, they smoke it to bring out the flavor.” Ladsa’s a master craftsman, first inviting me to inspect his work, then explaining in detail the subtleties that make it truly wonderful. Drizzling white truffle oil over the fish he asks, “have you had this stuff? A lot of people think it’s too expensive but it’s delicious.” It is indeed expensive; 8.5 oz can run upwards of $35, but, when used sparingly, it can add a wonderfully earthy flavor to the right dish. By the time the salmon is in the oven, adorned in a shallow white baking dish with a collection of oils and spices, we’ve gone from talking about thrift shops to discussing mushroom hunting. Not only does Ladsa grow his own basil in the summer, but he picks his own mushroom in the spring which, without an extensive knowledge of mycology, can be quite perilous to the fungus amateur. I do a mental sprint to recall the questions I had prepared for the interview and then promptly forgotten. Then, Ladsa asks nonchalantly, “so do you believe in God?” Though it had nothing to do with food, I was relieved that he had come up with a question to ask me. This is the way he is. We talk about the existence of a supernatural entity, eventually landing on the topic of destiny. He subscribes to the belief that wherever you are right now is where you’re meant to be: whatever you happen to be doing at any moment is the product of destiny. It translates to a sort of positively charged realism instead of determinism (choosing
to celebrate the possibilities of an uncertain existence by enjoying the present). He has a valid background for his belief, having held a many jobs since coming to America in 1988. Ladsa explains his philosophy in terms of the restaurant: when he was a carpenter, he built the shelves that are now in the back of the kitchen, but the person who commissioned them didn’t want them. Taking this as a sign, Ladsa kept them for himself. The long table, which he uses to prepare everything besides the sandwiches, was given to him by a friend, and he gladly accepted it because, he figured in a prophetic way, he might use it one day. Even the location, which is no stranger to sandwich shops (The Red Onion was located there at one point), became available just as he was looking for a change seven years ago. In the summer of 1988, Ladislave Pancisin flew into Syracuse International Airport on his way to Vermont. Speaking absolutely no English, he wandered through the terminal looking for the plane to Burlington. He didn’t find the sign that night but a pretty flight attendant, with the help of her grandmother (who translated Ladsa’s German over the phone), gave him a place to stay and rescheduled his flight. Arriving in the then derelict North End of Burlington, he thought he must have taken a wrong turn. “I had serious doubts, I thought I was in Russia,” he recalls with a smile. Twenty years later, those doubts have given way to feelings of success. Just as we are circling around the meaning of life, Ladsa jumps up and pulls
the salmon out of the oven. The potatoes are done, and the asparagus is waiting to be plated. I ask whether he is going to do anything to the vegetables. “I want the salmon to be the star,” he replies. Sitting down to eat, I make a toast to the chef. Ladsa knows what he is doing. The salmon, flaky and golden brown, dissolves in my mouth. I envy his simple method, which has produced a beautiful harmony between the varied elements while preserving the flavor of each ingredient. Despite his tendency to recoil at the mention of fancy or traditional cooking, he accented everything with a decadent Hollandaise sauce. (made by Ladsa with the substitution of orange for lemon juice and the addition of Pomegranate syrup.) The potatoes and asparagus are simple, and delicious. After praising Ladsa, I ask his opinion. His response is humble: “Home run I guess.” The night ends. I make a promise to return the favor, and push Ladsa to let me, at the very least, do the dishes. Mysteriously, he refuses, maybe because he knows that I, like many chefs, hate doing dishes, or more likely because he has a special way of doing them. Eventually, I follow through on my promise and make him dinner. Every once in a while when I see the light on inside 310 Pine Street after-hours, I stop in for a drink and chat about food. CHRIS KILLORAN PHOTOS BY JASON GOLD
5 locations redefining community standards
the Intervale As residents of Burlington drive further away from the beautiful busy-ness that is Church Street and head north through the quirky little neighborhoods of the New North End, they may come across an equally beautiful floodplain called the Intervale. Since the ’80s, the seven-hundred-acre area has been rapidly growing as a successful and sustainable agricultural center. The land has been nursed back to health after it was terminally neglected almost twenty years ago. Now, with an expanding staff and an emerging community interest in sustainable agriculture, the Intervale Center is redefining the resource accessibility of all those who live in the greater Burlington area. As Bill Mitchell, executive director, claims, “Industrial food – its cultivation so destructive of land and water, its nutrients and flavor processed away, its packaging overdone, and its distribution dependent upon fossil fuels – costs us all too much, however artificially cheap its prices.” The people at the Intervale Center hope to turn everyone away from that. The Center manages over three hundred of the seven hundred acres of Intervale land, consists of multiple programs which tackle specific aspects of keeping the agriculture sustainable and community-friendly. With a variety of dedicated staff members and volunteers, the Intervale Center has been nationally recognized for its agricultural achievements. As Mitchell puts it, each program that takes place on the Intervale is responsible for a different branch of success in Burlington’s access to sustainable agriculture. Intervale Farms Program Recently developed, this program, which is a part of the Center’s Agricultural Development Services (ADS), leases land to farmers in order to help them get on their feet and learn from other knowledgeable
PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL MITCHELL
farmers Success on Farms Also a part of ADS, this program provides personal guidance (such as marketing tips and increased revenue) for farmers throughout the state in order to establish their enterprises. Burlington Food Hub Still in the process of development, this program seeks to tie together the local resources with those who are looking for them. The aim is to organize, consolidate and distribute local agriculture. Food Enterprise Center An expansive concept of the Food Hub, the Food Enterprise Center seeks to aid small food processors in developing new products and techniques that will stretch out the production season. The program will be massive, consisting of a 20,000-square-foot food-processing facility as well as a greenhouse of the same size. Healthy City An educational youth farm whose aims are to train at-risk youth for life-skills. Youth members, as a result, participate in selling produce to local facilities. Intervale Conservation Nursery Members who work with the nursery aim to improve the water quality of the nearby Lake Champlain Basin. This is done by implementing natural landscape projects such as increasing the number of native trees and bushes in the area in order to restore the stream bank. With new programs constantly emerging and a number of services that remain successful, the Intervale Center is doing well. Mitchell seems to agree: “Through the efforts of Intervale farmers, the Intervale Center, and our community partners, we have established the foundations of a sustainable local food system. As a result, this community’s ability to access healthful, locally grown produce continues to improve.” JHANI GRIFFIN
ReCycle North To every student and household renter in Burlington, ReCycle North is known as the place to go when furnishing a new apartment or house. Functioning as a household-goods Salvation Army, individuals can drop off an old dishwasher that they no longer need and, at the same time, pick up a used couch and some wall paintings for an affordable price. Yet, most people who shop in the vast warehouse of furniture and trinkets galore are unaware of the greater branches of service that ReCycle North offers. According to Tom Longstreth, executive director, the organization has a three-part mission: to promote and support reusability, provide economic alleviation, and provide jobtraining skills. Though its programs are extremely successful, Longstreth emphasizes how difficult it is “to communicate to the public how (ReCycle North) is so much more than just a neighborhood thrift store.” With programs such as Youthbuild, in which high school dropouts are taught skills in construction building, ReCycle North has found success in giving back to the community in an efficient and unique way. Built in 1991, ReCycle North started as a small enterprise created by Ron Krupp, who envisioned a system in which homeless people could both benefit from and give back to the community by getting hired to repair and refurnish donated household items. Longstreth, who has worked with ReCycle North since 1996, says that although “the industry has changed and it’s hard to keep up,” ReCycle North is as successful as ever with an extremely dedicated staff who is helping to slowly expand all programs and services. Programs besides YouthBuild include two types of training courses: Apprentice-Style and Work-Experience CareerStart, which provides job-training for high school students with learning disabilities, and the Essential Goods Program, which serves families in need with essential household items. In addition to all communitybuilding programs, ReCycle North also provides repair services, deconstruction services and a service called Waste Not Products, in which old and unusable items are creatively transformed into newer and more fun products. JHANI GRIFFIN
MORE THAN A THRIFT STORE: TOM LONGSTRETH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RECYCLE NORTH
Spectrum VT Youth and Family Services
More than thirty years ago, a group of Burlington citizens were concerned about the rising number of youth who were running away from their foster homes. With the runaways’ well-being a central concern, the community members teamed up with the Burlington Ecumenical Action Ministry to form a program called Shelter Action (SHAC). This program eventually became what is now known as Spectrum Youth and Family Services. Today, Spectrum VT has expanded the amount of people it desires to reach – they provide homeless, foster, and at-risk youth with emergency shelter and support services to get their lives back on track. Spectrum VT is, and always has been a non-profit organization. As a result, there is constant worry over major funds lasting long enough. As a non-profit, they must rely largely on government funding at both the state and federal level. A significant 71 percent of all of Spectrum’s funds come from these sources. While impressive, it is an impending problem that grant and funding dollars are constantly shrinking – not just for Spectrum VT, but for all recipients. Even when funding dollars are strong, they can be inconsistent. As Spectrum so enthusiastically claims, the program has a vision where its program is not vulnerable to changes in government funding, or even at the end of a grant cycle. It is a vision where their organization is vital to the community, and the members of the community have ownership of Spectrum. In this sense, Spectrum VT not only aims to improve lives for Burlington citizens, but to additionally build a bridge between the social classes of the area. In the meantime however, Spectrum VT continues to be very successful with their current goal: to provide assistance to as many people as possible in multiple ways. How are they unique from other youth and family services in the area? Joan White, development director, gave this excerpt from a program brochure: “At Spectrum, we offer kids what we call a ‘complete wrap.’ That is, we make sure they’re safe and secure with housing from emergency shelter to transitional housing, to independent living.” JHANI GRIFFIN
DOING IT FOR THE KIDS: MARK REDMOND
TRY THE SQUASH: JULY SANDERS AND SHANNON REILLY
Magnolia Bistro In a bustling area such as Burlington, both locals and visitors can clearly see all the dining options that are available simply by strolling around some of more populated streets. While dining choices in areas such as Church Street are rich, it is easy to see how an eatery like Magnolia Bistro, virtually hidden from the public eye, would struggle for a spot in the limelight. As Vermont’s first and only “green” restaurant however, the bistro is growing in popularity. Magnolia Bistro served its first meal as recently as November 21, 2006. July Sanders and Shannon Reilly, co-owners, opened up the bistro with a vision of adding to the Burlington breakfast scene. Sanders says she and Reilly both have had years of restaurant experience and with a mutual love for breakfast; it made sense that the creation of a new breakfast bistro was in their future. “Having worked in the restaurant industry since I was 16, I always knew I’d one day own my own. Shannon always knew he wanted to work for himself.” Yet, a love of breakfast and the motivation to run a restaurant was not all that the two founders had going for them. Reilly and Sanders had a vision in which their bistro would be environmentally-friendly – but in a much more extreme way than
most restaurants even attempt to achieve. Sanders explains, “With a combined twenty-three years of restaurant experience, Shannon and I have seen our fair share of how wasteful this industry can be, but we’ve also learned to love this industry. We thought there had to be a way to create a restaurant without all the waste. This was the idea from the beginning. We wanted to take the eco-practices I learned as a child, which I further developed as an environmental studies student and put it into the business.” Reilly and Sanders enforced their environmental standards in Magnolia Bistro before they had even heard of the Green Restaurant Association. In February 2007, a diner at the bistro mentioned it to the two owners. As soon as the owners applied, it only took two weeks to get certified – the fastest anyone has ever been GRA certified. To get certified and stay certified, a restaurant must consistently keep making environmental-friendly changes to the restaurant. Changes can include switching to cloth napkins, installing hand-dryers in the bathroom, or only purchasing recycled pens. These changes can be challenging, but Sanders says she and the Magnolia staff are committed. “We were voted one of the greenest cities in the U.S. and all green cities should have a green restaurant. We are very proud to be Vermont’s first certified green restaurant, but hope that soon we will not be the only one.”
Green Mountain CarShare
In 2001, two friends decided to start a car-sharing service in the city of San Francisco. Annie Bourdon was their first employee. By 2005, the service had grown to fifteen employees and today, CityCarShare has over 13,000 members who are saving tons of money and environmental resources by opting to use the car sharing service. Bourdon, who eventually became a deputy director for the service, got a call from some Burlington locals one day who were interested in starting their own car-sharing service. Bourdon kept in touch with them and when she decided to move back to her home state of Vermont, she gave them a call back. Now, the Burlington area is starting their own CarShare thanks to Bourdon (who is currently a UVM graduate student and conducting the CarShare as part of her master’s degree project) and the rest of the dedicated citizens who wish to see less of a surplus of cars among individuals. The service is still in its developing stages – Bourdon explains that because the service is a non-profit, they do not have enough resources at the moment to launch a marketing program. They are in the process of making a website which they hope will help get the word out and will speed up the fundraising process. The website will be greenmountaincarshare.org and should be up and running by the end of May. The CarShare should go into effect by September and members will have a 30 dollar joining fee and will be asked to pay 10 dollar a month. For now, the workers behind Green Mountain CarShare are working hard to get the project running. They will spend the summer fundraising, grant-writing, and reaching out to the community in hopes of receiving private donations and corporate sponsorships in order to acquire all-new vehicles. According to Bourdon, the goal of the CarShare is that by 2014, the service will be financially self-reliant as a result of membership fees. Bourdon hopes that people will check out the website once it is up and running and digest the statistics regarding the costs of owning a car – both financially and environmentally. “People aren’t fully aware of what it means to own a car. They tend to drive around and forget about the impact of driving other than what it costs them to fill up their gas tanks. By putting cars on the road, drivers are forcing society to become more and more car-centric, which is essentially eating up a lot of resources.” JHANI GRIFFIN
NEED A LIFT?: ANNIE BOURDON JASON GOLD
Get yourself into somethin’ tonight:
The Aztext. From A to Z, they rule rap in B-Town. With a unique sound and the drive to push it on the streets, this dynamic threesome has carved out a niche in the underground hip-hop scene that stretches from here to Croatia. Not just another poorly produced crew with ‘hoand-dub-laced lyrics,’ the Aztext offer a fresh honesty to an often contrived genre. Amazing beats and a live show like no other, The Aztext are truly a force to be reckoned with. phoebe. recently had a chance to sit down with the group.
phoebe.magazine: How did you all end up in Burlington? Learic: I moved here to Essex from D.C. when I was twelve. Pro: I moved here from Montreal when I was sixteen. There was a referendum in Canada in ’96 when Quebec tried to separate from Canada and we’re American. My dad couldn’t get a job in Canada because he didn’t speak French and this was the closest place. DJ Big Kat: I was born and raised in Essex. We all went to Essex High School. Learic: It’s not just like we all happened to be in Burlington since high school. [Pro] was in Rhode Island getting his degree and I was in Brooklyn and Manhattan doing some acting stuff, [Big Kat] was working here. p.m: How did you guys meet and end up coming together? Pro: In High School [Learic] was like a mentor, he’s older than me. I’ll say this because he’s too humble to, but he’s born like an MC, at fifteen was kicking free styles that are as good as the one’s he’s kicking now. He’s, like, ridiculous. He taught me a lot of stuff. He’s always been ridiculous and we knew each other through music. We wanted to do like a group thing. And then in college, I met this guy. I was at North Country Community College in Saranac Lake. I went to school up in Montreal and it didn’t work out, so I went to community college. And I’d come back in the summers and live here and we worked together. There’s a DJ you gotta meet— he puts out mixtapes. DJ Big Kat: Back then, I was mostly
spinning reggae. I was starting to get into hip hop and my friend told me you gotta get an MC. You need someone to rap, that’s the only way you’re going to get better. Someone was like, you gotta meet this kid who works here, he just started.
p.m.: So you guys quit your jobs and went to the studio to record?
Pro: So, we just started doing shows; Pro and Big Kat and house parties.
Learic: I was doing off-Broadway plays and I just said, man, I gotta do what I gotta do.
Learic: I was living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan and focusing a little more on acting, but then I was still going to open mics and stuff but it’s a lot harder in New York City. It makes you choose other things .
Pro: I was in Rhode Island and I got out of my lease, everything, we’d just come here. Within a month, boom, that was it. Pretty sick.
Pro: We would call each other with verses all the time, from Rhode Island to New York. And we ended up both coming back to rock a show at an opening for a group as separate MC’s. He was spinning my sets so he could spin his set. And then I stayed on ’cause I knew his songs and I hyped them and did verses on them and when we were done people were like, “What’s the name of your group?” And we were like, “Ah who needs a group?” “You guys need to form a group, you guys just have it,” and we were like, “Okay.” Learic: So, we ended up talking at four in the morning when he was dropping me at my house and was, like, “Dude, let’s do this. I’ll go back to NYC. I’ll put my two weeks notice in, you do your thing, wrap whatever you need to wrap up and let’s meet back in Burlington and let’s make music.” Pro: So, like, literally within a month, we just were here in a place. The first night we recorded two tracks that made the album. We put the first album together in three months. After that we just started recording like crazy. We’d just get beats and rock ’em.
Pro: We quit everything. [Learic] was in NYC and got out of his lease … he was on Broadway.
Learic: We’d never been able to do an album, we’d been rhyming for twelve years and we had nothing to show for it. Pro: We had a lot of Sharpie cds. p.m.: So, then you guys met and started working together. After you got the actual music made, where did you go after that in terms of distribution? Pro: We knew we had to hit the road as best we could, but it’s hard. Doing shows that are not your ‘hometown’ was harder than we thought. You know, no one cares, you’re not gonna draw. They don’t care at all. They could care less if the music is good if there is only gonna be one person drinking at the bar so we were basically taking any shows we could get and doing them for free. As a group, we kinda have roles. [DJ Big Kat] is like the stability. Really fucking calm. He’s always got the level head. [Learic’s] got the real musical ear to take things everywhere and I kinda have a little business sense behind me. I just thought about where I wanted our CD to be and sent it there. A lot of times it didn’t do anything. Source still hasn’t reviewed it, but, you know, a site in Romania did! And
BURLINGTON BEATS ROCK CROATIA: THE AZTEXT REACHED #2 ON THE COUNTRY’S POP CHARTS. [LEFT TO RIGHT]: PRO, DJ BIG KAT, LEARIC
they hooked us up, we’re on a track with all these European cats. We’re, like, famous in Europe, in like, weird parts of the world. Learic: We had a #2 track in Croatia.
This is hip-hop. We want our music to be appreciated universally. We don’t want to, to use a cliché: ‘sell out.’ We don’t want to just sign to a major label and have them rule us. Pro: Behind Akon and Eminem’s ‘Smack That!’ Learic: You can look that up, Aztext’s “Breakthrough.” Pro: Bottom line we send our music out everywhere. Myspace helps. DJ Big Kat: Everything off the beginning is for free. Send out copies. You pay for shipping for CDs. Learic: But we did it, it pays off. DJ Big Kat: All of a sudden, you start breaking even a little bit. p.m.: Is this what you guys are doing fulltime? Or are you moonlighting? DJ Big Kat: We all have full time jobs. Pro: We have a track about that too. We had this thought, this realization that everyone can write a good punchline, everyone can ride a beat, everyone has a friend who makes cool beats. So, what can you do that other people can’t? Alright, well no one is me. No one is
you and no one is you. So, if you get [the listeners] hooked into who you are, they can’t find that anywhere else. We wrote this track called “Life of an MC.” It was a kind of preemptive response to when people sit around and think “Man, I wonder what the Aztext are doing right now?” We’re doing what you’re doing! We just happen to have a CD out but I’m at work, he’s at work, and he’s at work. All day! You know, we just get home and do this. Learic: That’s what makes it so challenging, balancing our work schedules. How can we make this a profitable business? How can we make this music work for us? We can only devote like 8 hours a week. p.m.: Specifically, what do you guys do for work right now? Pro: I am an account executive for radio stations. I work for the ‘devil.’ We were just sold, but I work for the local ClearChannel radio cluster. It’s sick man, my former boss was a professional musician for like eighteen years. I have a real good thing going. DJ Big Kat: I’m an electrician. Learic: I’m a shift leader at Blockbuster video on Shelburne road. p.m.: Where do you guys want to go from here? What do you think about going mainstream? What do you think your chances are? Learic: It’s basically like, we want our music to be widely heard, but I don’t think at like the expense of having someone tell us ‘alright, you guys have to wear these outfits and change these lyrics. We don’t want it to be this reconfigured thing. If that were the case, we would have joined a boy band. This is hip-hop. We want our music to be appreciated universally. We don’t want to, to use a cliché: ‘sell out.’ We don’t want to just sign to a major label and have them rule us. Pro: I think like, the perfect example would be any of these three bands: Swollen Members, Atmosphere, or Jurassic 5. Because, bottom line, these
guys, no matter how big they get, will always be underground in the eyes of everyone: their fans, mainstream, everything. They own their stuff. J5, not so much any more but they had a song with Dave Matthews, on MTV, on TRL. p.m.: Burlington and Hip-hop, what’s the scene like for you guys? Learic: The thing is, it’s existed, at least for me growing up the last fifteen years. It may not have been on the map, so to say. Outside its own community, it was never that big. But man, Liquid Energy, in ’96. If you went by Liquid Energy on a Wednesday night in the summer, there would be a lot of MC’s freestyling. There were times when there were probably like fifty MCs in Burlington. That may not sound like a lot. But to Burlington, that’s a lot of people coming out. Burlington’s like Portland, Oregon, man. Burlington’s not like this “two-barn” town, where it’s like, hip-hop is not necessarily gonna happen. DJ Big Kat: It’s always been a musical town. And now it’s more just hip-hop than any other kind of music. Pro: Here’s the deal too with Burlington. Look, [Learic] was in Brooklyn and we could have just as easily moved there. It’s a toss-up, you could be in that bar in Brooklyn doing a performance and that exec could be there and say ‘you, you’re coming with me. Boom! I’m taking care of you.’ That seems less likely than what happens here, which is, if you do well, then when acts come in you get to open for them. You meet them. There are certain national MC’s that know us by face now, in the context. That’s cool. It treats us well with that respect. You know, getting an interview with you. If we were in New York ... p.m.: We wouldn’t have had those five minutes to wait for Learic either! Pro: [In New York] there would be a hundred thousand people you would think of before us. INTERVIEW & PHOTO BY BOBBY BRUDERLE
burlington’s warmest and fuzziest band
THE BAND AT BATTERY STREET JEANS. [LEFT TO RIGHT]: HOLLY, MAX, DANA, COLIN, DAVID.
“While the music initially sounds like a sing-along that might be led by a big, purple dinosaur, it does go a bit deeper than that.” When was the last time you were honestly ‘smitten’ for someone? You know, short of breath, beating heart, sweaty palms — that indescribable feeling in your gut. Been a while? The Smittens will take care of that. This five-piece Burlington band labels themselves as “twee meets indie meets bubblegum pop.” The Smittens music evokes feelings of happiness, flirtations, butterflies in your stomach— all that warm and fuzzy stuff. And get this: each of the five members has coined their own Smitten “personality.” The band is made up of Max Andrucki (the Dashing Smitten), Dana Kaplan (the Lady Smitten), Colin Clary (the Charming Smitten), Holly Chagnon (the Littlest Smitten), and David Zacharis (the Greek one). So, who do The Smittens appeal to? ”We have pockets of fans in all different countries and it’s different in different places what type of people like Indie-pop,” Clary said. “Audience members range from kids in Sweden who are twenty-five to moms in Burlington.” But, what exactly is “twee” music? This word triggers thoughts of daintiness and delicacy. In other words, “twee” music must be pretty cute. “Momus, Where Are You?”, The Smittens
depict a whimsical potpourri of maroon corduroy pants, purple boas, snowflakes on the tips of tongues, and cowboy hats, all wrapped up in a living room dance party. Could it get any better than that? “We try to have a classic sound working in the framework of an Indie-pop/ underground type movement,” the Charming Smitten said. “This movement involves bands who are all really working hard at what they do and believe in their art but aren’t corrupted by the mainstream pressure, media and attention because that’s sort of run by money-machines.” While the music initially sounds like a sing-along that might be led by a big, purple dinosaur, it does go a bit deeper than that. Their style is a delightful pastiche of pop from the sixties— similar to Tommie Roe or The Archies— and modern indie-pop. “We’ll have fans who say, ‘that reminds me of what I liked when I was younger’ and people who think we’re something new.” Clary said. “It could go either way.” This summer,the Smittens will release their latest album, “The Coolest Thing About Love” and each one of The Smittens has their own feelings about what that coolest thing is.” We each have a different take about what the coolest thing about love is,” Kaplan said. “This sort of brings us all
together. Finding that happy medium where we can all bring our voices in and fuse our interpretations is what creates the whole.” But Clary feels differently, suggesting that it’s impossible to define something like this. “The thing we try to play with is the amorphous nature of what it is; it’s kind of like a feeling more than anything, a moment,” he said. “It’s like when you catch the moment and realize that it’s a love moment, that’s what could be the coolest thing about love.” Summer is typically a time for the beach, hot romances and bonfires. But for The Smittens, this summer calls for a pit stop in England for their tour. According to the band’s Web site, they’ll be gallivanting at the Indie-Tracks festival in the Derbyshire countryside. They also hope to play in Sweden and Iceland. One thing is for sure: wherever The Smittens go, they’ll go with a warm and fuzzy smile. KATHERINE ROBINSON PHOTOS JASON GOLD Styling by Magdalena Jensen Clothing courtesy of Battery Street Jeans phoebe. & the smittens thank battery street jeans for their generosity!!!!! super thanks!
“You are not here to consume, you are here to feel.” – Lee Anderson, owner
On the fringes of the North End of Burlington is Radio Bean - a coffee shop on N. Winooski Avenue. Unlike cafés on Church Street, Radio Bean attracts a group of unique individuals, making its location key to the development of a friendly community of staff and “regulars.” This is no ordinary coffee joint. Providing a wide variety of tasty beverages and baked goods, Radio Bean’s humble atmosphere is the epitome of a downtown Burlington café. Staff members say they spend a lot of time at the cafe when they’re off the clock, especially at night when there is live music to enjoy. The “regulars” of the Radio Bean -- a mix of hipsters, punks, musicians, locals, and college students -- make it a surprisingly diverse hang out spot (as diverse as we can get in Burlington, that is). The appearance of the place seems to share in its offbeat essence. Above the bar hangs an old bedspring that’s been converted into a bottle rack. A unique variety of handmade lamps hang sporadically from the ceiling; their creamy color and texture are reminiscent of something you might find in a cheap banquet hall. There are local (and not so local) artists’ work hung up on the walls, and every few weeks there’s someone else’s art exchanged for the previous. Somehow, the unique appearance of the Bean effortlessly comes together to create an elegant and beautiful coffee shop. Owner, Lee Anderson, lives above Radio Bean, and spends a good deal of his time working behind the bar and organizing music events. A native of Minnesota, Anderson came to Vermont in 1996 and opened Radio Bean, (a formerly vacant space and before that a head shop) with the hope of launching a local FM radio station with a political flare. “I imagined a lot more political activism,” Anderson said. “I wanted to see a lot more people hanging around and discussing [politics] and getting to know each other.” But Anderson became turned off by what he thought was a negative scene. “As the shop started to take off, I realized that the arts was where this place was really going to be, not so much about politics but confronting the monster, mankind, with art and music, trying to meet it more with something that’s equal and opposite,” he said. “We are not shooting towards the profit star, we are shooting towards the art star, expanding light rather than the false profit.” Since its grand opening in 2000, Radio Bean has morphed into a community hangout, and has also become a good place for aspiring musicians to play for a live audience, giving artists new to the stage a chance to get their feet wet. With different themed music nights during the week, Radio Bean gives anyone a good reason to make their way to N. Winooski Ave. With open mic nights on Mondays, Honky Tonk on Tuesday, Celtic music on Wednesday and jazz on Thursday, Radio Bean is always attracting an eclectic mix. “Radio Bean has gone so far beyond my own mission, in that there are thousands of people on this stage every year who are feeding into this nucleus, whether they realize it or not,” Anderson said. Lee Anderson’s vision of a community hangout spot has long since become a reality. JULIA TADDONIO
timecoding tokyo 31
At six a.m. the sun has already been up for a few hours and, while stumbling out of a sushi restaurant the size of an instant photo booth, I realize that the freshest sushi in the world is not the best way to end a night on the town. After sighing at a wallet full of business cards, receipts, useless credit cards and no cash, I count the few coins left in my pocket. 100, 200, 250, 260, 270, 280. 280 Yen: the exact change it takes for me to get home on the Oedo Subway line from Tsukiji Market. Staring blankly at a map I only understand five percent of, I Stop. Rewind. (6:00) At six a.m. the sun has already been up for a few hours – Rewind. (4:23) I’m no longer surprised to see the sun up when emerging from a nightclub in Roppongi. This entertainment district is one of the few places in Tokyo where the smells of garbage and sewage pour into the streets. It won’t be long before – “Massage. Massage.” Hustlers selling women are as expected as the sun. A
drunken old man stumbles and spits as he makes his way out of an alley and buckles his pants. Sometimes ignorance is bliss and I wish I hadn’t seen Rewind. (3:34) “Tokyo no ongaku wa, America ni shokai suru,” I slur into the ear of a twenty-six year old hairdresser that could pass for sixteen. The giggles and awe that used to empower me with an ego, now seem transient and depressing. Somehow, the superficiality of being regarded as some kind of celebrity because I’m American has ceased to humor me. Sighs and boredom in a three-story nightclub called Muse. I try to find the strangers I call friends, but give up and start a conversation with a fashionable twenty-four year old who looks like she’s still in high school, but works for a cell phone company. She asks me to dance but I – Rewind. (1:37) Two thousand yen cover charge. God damnit. I consider trying to talk my way out of it, but, looking up at the six foot seven Nigerian bouncer, I swallow
my miserly pride and cough up the last of my paper currency. At least I get two drink tickets with the cover charge. I say good luck to my friends and make my way inside to the nearest bar to absolve my misplaced loneliness. She says her name is Midori, which means green, and she works at a clothing store near my neighborhood in Harajuku. Her eyes are unusually green and she wears an overall skirt with knee socks that shows off her diet of rice and fish. We talk until I run out of conversations I know in Japanese and then I ask her – Rewind. (1:00) I hate taxicabs. It’s one a.m. as I watch the meter climb in price and wonder if we could have caught the last train out of Shibuya. A Belgian architect named Dries sits in the front of the taxi and laughs, “Come on, I must be lonely if you guys are my best mates.” The other European architects laugh with him and I stare out the window at the passing neon lights wondering what I’m doing here. I take out my videocamera to record the illuminated city as it passes by my
She was wearing a black and white striped dress, a pin-stripe hat and fuchsia leggings. I thought she was boring and she thought I was full of shit. window. The lights calm me and fuel a kind of somber excitement as we pull into the seedy entertainment district of Roppongi. The last time I was here was with my roommate, a male-model from Spain, who brought me to a model club where I didn’t fit in. Too cheap to buy a cab, I ended up getting lost walking home. It took over two hours. I remember we were hanging out with an eight-piece Spanish Tuna band (a band that plays traditional Spanish folk songs). Brazilian models and vomit try to coalesce into a memory but all I can remember is – Rewind. (0:19) I take a cigarette from a girl at Coins Bar in Shibuya. I suck down the last bit of a gin and tonic and take a lighter out of my pocket to light her cigarette. What a gentleman. Somebody told me that “Jackass: The Movie” had a scene shot in this bar and, considering the American nature of the place, it wouldn’t surprise me. She was wearing a black and white striped dress, a pin-stripe hat and fuchsia leggings. I thought she was boring and she thought I was full of shit. I put out my cigarette and ordered another gin and tonic before suggesting that we leave after the next round. Rewind. (22:09) I get a message on my phone to “come to Coins Bar” from a Belgian architect that I met last week at a video art show. I told him I’d meet up with him and his friends when I got off work tonight. As I grab the staircase railing and swing my way up from the basement of Shibuya’s Eggman, I finish the last swig of a whisky-coke in a soda bottle that I’d brought from home. How immature. I chuck it into the plastic bottles section of a five-compartment recycle bin outside of the music venue, which Japanese people call “live houses”. I laugh at the ridiculous interview I just did as I meander through the narrow streets of the ultra-hip Shibuya. Coins Bar is only a few blocks from Eggman, and on the way I pass a
billboard with a woman in a dress made out of records and CD’s. It reads: “You Are What You Buy”. I take a picture and think that this would be a great slogan for the city of Tokyo. Rewind. (21:22) Covered with stickers and graffiti, the backstage at Shibuya Eggman is your typical closet-sized dressing room crammed with equipment and clothing. I’m interviewing Don Matsuo, the front-man for a rock band called The Zoobombs. In the nineties, The Zoobombs experienced a small break into American markets facilitated by interviews with Rolling Stone and opening for acts such as The Flaming Lips. The first time I interviewed Don was at Shelter Shimokitazawa almost two months ago. His fascination and undying ambition to achieve international success set the roots for our friendship. Because his English is better than most of the musicians I’ve been interviewing, I’ve been recording our conversations backstage at live houses throughout the city. In a few weeks our roles will switch and he will be interviewing me for a column in Snoozer, Japan’s version of Spin Magazine. But for now, I slur and talk loudly at him as we discuss the problems with Japanese musicians trying to copy Western styles. Don is in his thirties, married with children, but could pass for a teenager. He is wearing a Rolling Stones button on his denim jacket and he creases the brim of his matching denim hat before deciding to take it off. We take a break from the interview while Don goes on stage to make a guest appearance and rip a guitar solo on his knees. The mediocre hard rock band matches the pathetic profile Don and I were discussing and their confused attempts at heavy metal leave me holding back laughter. I take chugs from a whiskey and coke backstage and make small talk with somebody’s girlfriend. She asks what I do and I tell her – Rewind. (21:06) I hop down the stairs of Shibuya Eggman and casually tell the girl at the door that my name is on the list. She’s
wearing a purple hat, thick-framed glasses and a plaid shirt. She smiles and fumbles through the list of guests. My ego waits impatiently and tells her that it’s the only name in English. I think she can smell the whiskey on my breath and she giggles as she tells me that the The Zoobombs have already finished playing. It’s nine o’clock and I knew that I was late, but I still can’t adjust to the early show times in Japan. I tell her I’m a journalist and that I need to do an interview, so she gives me a neon green VIP pass with a drink ticket and I enter my office for the night. After getting a drink at the bar, Matta, the keyboardist for The Zoobombs sees me from across the crowded live house and waves me over. She searches through a cardboard box for a T-shirt, smiles and bows as she gives it to me. I thank her, give her a hug and tell her – Rewind. (19:49) I dip a gyoza that could have cooked a little longer into a dish of soy sauce. I wasn’t patient enough to let it cook longer. I know that I’ll be late for work tonight, but I tell myself that it’s ok because I’ve already seen The Zoobombs plenty of times and they’re playing around the corner in Shibuya (a forty-five minute walk or five minute train ride). I turn off the colorful Japanese commercials on the television and take a pull from a Suntory whiskey bottle that I picked up for eight hundred yen at the convenience store next to my building. I dump out half of a Coca-Cola bottle I got from the vending machine in my building and fill it with whiskey. Thoughts of loneliness and alienation are interrupted by a text message from a Belgian architect I met last week. I assume I’ll be out all night and decide it would be a good night to see the largest fish market in the world open at sunrise. I put on my shoes, throw a camera and microphone into my backpack and start my walk through the neon streets of “sensation overload” that I call home. TEXT AND ART LEWIS RAPKIN
“CHAMP” RESEARCHER SCOTT MARDIS IN FRONT OF THE ECHO CENTER BEFORE A SEARCH FOR THE INFAMOUS CREATURE
what might lie beneath
the story behind my quest for, Champ, Lake Champlain’s mysterious lake monster Somewhere near the middle of the Crown Point Bridge, a slight feeling of disappointment set in. I was crossing the steel trestle, which spanned a southern section of Lake Champlain connecting New York and Vermont, returning from a fruitless trip to Port Henry, NY. This detour, a few hours out of the way from Burlington, was not entirely pointless but not completely necessary. I had gone with the lofty hopes of finding what many have searched for almost since the arrival of Europeans in these green mountains. For over four hundred years, tales of a great monster living in Lake Champlain have filtered their way down through the generations, only to be reinforced by scores of contemporary sightings of this elusive creature. Known colloquially as “Champ” to the residents of both sides of this body of water, the legend has grown over the years by this “thing’s” presence, or lack thereof. Port Henry, the self-proclaimed “Hometown of Champ,” seemed like a logical place to start my quest to investigate the myth, but left me no closer to the answers I had come for. Driving along the narrow country roads flanked by barren, snowcovered farmland; I began to realize that I might have fully bought into the Champ phenomenon, which has a tendency to completely consume the lives of its believers. I began to question how much I had invested into what I once wrote off as a piece of backwoods folklore,
spawned from long, cold winters spent in Northern New England. But the evidence and personal accounts are almost irrefutable; there has to be something in the murky waters of Lake Champlain. There was no real need for me to physically locate Champ but rather to simply collect the facts, ask questions and attempt to make some sense of this whole myth. The one problem was that I became wholly engrossed in the subject; the desire and the pursuit to possibly catching a glimpse of whatever was out there became too much. At times, I was driven to shut myself off from the world, pour over the scientific data, reread aged newspaper clippings, and scour eyewitness sightings in an attempt to find some connections in this quest for seemingly unattainable answers.
Don’t know much about Cryptozoology. Don’t know much about Marine Biology. The study of Lake Monsters and other mythic creatures (Yetis, Big Foot, Chupacabra etc.) falls under the semiscientific category of “Cryptozoology.” The subject of which is “the study of hidden or unknown animals,” according to J.B. Bates’ article on cryptozoology.com. He also notes that “it is not recognized by the scientific community as a science.” Apparently, one of the few places to study Cryptozoology in an academic setting is at the highly accredited and widely known “Florida Keys Community
College.” It is almost inevitable when discussing “Champ,” to also mention its more famous European counterpart, Nessie, from Loch Ness, Scotland. From eyewitness sightings in both lakes, the two creatures share many similar characteristics leading many to believe they are of the same species. According to Richard Ellis’ book, “Sea Dragons: Predators of the Prehistoric Oceans,” in a section regarding the Plesiosaur, the species which many believe Champ and Nessy to be, he writes; “Although [the Loch Ness Monster] has been identified as a dinosaur, a fish, a snake, a sea serpent, a giant eel, an otter… it is most often described as some sort of plesiosaur.” While these identifications are specifically directed at the Loch Ness monster, many eyewitness accounts have described Champ in similar fashion. A uniform agreement by researchers has not been reached as to what species Champ actually is to, but the leading theory identifies it as a plesiosaur. According to Ellis “the plesiosaur Thalassomedon is a representative of a group of marine reptiles that thrived for 100 million years from the Triassic to the Cretaceous periods and then, for reasons not understood, became extinct.” According to Ellis, “plesiosaurs came in all shapes and sizes, many of them unique. Some had long necks and huge heads, while others had long necks and tiny heads.” But he
“I saw the head, the neck and the back and in my mind I knew this was not a fish, it was not something I could identify and then I lost my balance and went down on my knees, then I picked up the camera, took the photograph.”
also adds, “Plesiosaurs seem to have evolved during the Triassic,” stating “in time, they became larger and their necks became longer.” According to Ellis, “all four limbs were modified into flippers.” But because these reptiles were equipped for life in salt-water environments, their presence in the freshwater of Lake Champlain would suggest a radical physical adaptation. Dennis Hall, local Vermonter and former Champ researcher, has a different theory. According to Hall’s book, “Champ Quest: the Ultimate Search,” “nineteen sightings of these animals have led me to believe they are members of the Tanystropheus family.” These creatures have an extremely similar body to the Plesiosaur with the exception of having four legs with claws instead of fins. Is it possible that one of these prehistoric beasts survived and is living in two rural lakes for this long without sufficient evidence supporting that they actually exist?
History “Champ” is by no means a new manifestation but, rather, one that is deeply rooted in almost all the cultures of inhabitants native to the Lake Champlain region, past and present. According to Samuel De Champlain, there was an abnormal fish-like creature called “Chaousarou” by the Abenaki Native Americans living in the Lake Champlain region. In what some scholars argue is the first account of the monster, De Champlain refers to this animal in the narratives of his voyages throughout the new world. He writes, “Chaousarou, which varies in length, the largest being, as the
people told me, eight or ten feet long.” He added its “head being as big as my two fists” with a mouth full of “a double row of very sharp and dangerous teeth.” This account has been disputed because the description he gives perfectly fits that of the Longnose Gar, a sturgeon-like fish that is common to the waters of Lake Champlain. Anyone could easily mistake this for some undiscovered beast. To find the next published reference and the first actual recorded account of a “monster” in Lake Champlain, jump to 1819 when The Plattsburgh Republican ran a story in July of that year describing a “great sea serpent” prowling Champlain’s waters near the New York shore. This is most likely the first “true” appearance of Champ. According to the article, a local Captain, by the name of Crum, claimed to have seen “an unusual undulation of the surface of the water, which was followed by the appearance of a monster rearing its head more than fifteen feet.” Crum estimates that whatever he saw was “187 feet long” which would put the monster just over the length of five school buses: I strongly believe this is an obvious exaggeration. While the details of Crum’s testimony are questionable, it’s not illogical to think that he must have seen something out of the ordinary. Even one of America’s greatest showmen, P.T. Barnum, became invested in the search for the Lake Monster. According to a letter from 1973 that Barnum sent to the “Whitehall Times,” he offered a generous cash reward of $50,000 for the “hide of the great Champlain serpent to add to my mammoth World’s Fair Show.” While this phenomenon was continually recorded in the local papers on both sides of the lake, it gained national attention when The New York Times reported on the “Champlain ‘Sea Serpent’” in 1915. “After remaining in seclusion for more then twentytwo years, the Lake Champlain “sea serpent” has again appeared to the veracious inhabitants of this place,” the article stated. This account places the monster somewhere in the area of Bulwagga Bay, not far from Port Henry, which would become one of the epicenters for Champ sightings over the years. For the next 62 years, numerous small town publications ran a variety of stories about sightings accompanied
by an array of theories on what exactly Champ might be. It wasn’t until Sandra Mansi’s 1977 photograph, however, that the myth seemingly became a reality. Mansi managed to snap the photo that would become one of the most conclusive pieces of evidence suggesting the presence of not only an unidentified creature in Lake Champlain, but also reinforcing the argument that the unclassified creatures could exist.
Mrs. Mansi: We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files Luckily, Mrs. Mansi is still willing to discuss the photo. Even though she took it over 30 years ago, she tells me she still does a few interviews a week. I’ll admit I was skeptical before talking with her, hoping I would detect some flaw in her story, proving to me that she’s been smirking behind closed doors for three decades over her role in a larger hoax. I was stunned by how earnest Mrs. Mansi was about what she saw and photographed. She reiterated in great detail the events of that day. “I saw the head, the neck and the back and in my mind I knew this was not a fish, it was not something I could identify and then I lost my balance and went down on my knees, then I picked up the camera, took the photograph,” she said. Her fervent diligence is unshakeable. “It’s been 30 years and this is what I saw. The photograph shows you what I saw,” she said. “It was a living, breathing thing. But I know it was something that shouldn’t have been in that lake for me to see.” Mansi admits that she was skeptical about Champ’s existence before she took the photograph. “It was kind of like the Tooth Fairy,” she said. Now she adamantly begs people to consider Champ’s existence. “Keep an open mind,” Mansi said. “Look at the photograph. Look at the evidence.” This image has come to embody the entire phenomenon; the grainy color picture shows a calm lake broken by the neck and back of something rising above the surface, it looks extremely similar to the widely circulated Surgeon’s Photo taken at Loch Ness. Mrs. Mansi and her family were at first unsure about what to do with the photograph. She recalls her family’s reaction after sending it to get developed. “We got it back, we said ‘Ah, ok, it was not a figment, let’s just not tell anybody.’”
It was a large step for Mrs. Mansi to finally make the photo public, she said, “at that point in my life I took a very large risk coming out, I’m very quiet.” Initially, she said her “big fear was that I had opened a Pandora’s Box … But I’m also glad I did come out and say I saw it.” Like anyone making extraordinary claims, she says she’s “been called crazy, and so forth and so on, but that was expected.” She got help from Joseph Zarzynski, then a budding Champ researcher and Cryptozoologist, who was crucial in the study of the monster. Mrs. Mansi has taken an active role in the “Champ” movement. She’s worked to get legislature passed in Vermont to have “Champ” protected from harm under state law, advocated for the clean up of the lake and speaks every year at Burlington’s Echo Center. She has opted not to seek money for the photo, saying “it can’t be a monetary thing because it would degrade [Champ].” She said, “I have just tried very hard to preserve the dignity of it because it belongs to the people of Vermont.” “There truly is something there and I will go to my grave knowing that,” she said.
“He began to unpack the bag he brought with him, pulling out various books, folders of photocopied news and journal articles and even several rubber dinosaur figures that he arranged neatly on the table between us.”
Joe Zarzynski From 1974 until 1992, Joseph Zarzynski conducted some of the most comprehensive fieldwork and research regarding the lake monster. He said he has recently turned his attention and is “now conducting underwater archaeological research at nearby Lake George, New York, studying historic shipwrecks,” but he is still open to answering questions concerning “Champ.” Zarzynski said his research included “using side-scan sonar to find a carcass of a ‘Champ’ animal and ground truth in those sonar targets using a tethered underwater robot called a remotelyoperated-vehicle (ROV).” He was one of the few employing this type of technology in Lake Champlain, saying “that was in the late 1980’s and was very state-of-the-art back then and even today.” He initially became interested in the subject in 1974 when he “was doing research at the Skidmore College library and saw the book ‘Monster Hunt’ by Tim Dinsdale, a book mostly about Nessie,” he said. “I took the book out, was reading it, and a friend said, ‘You don’t have to go to Loch Ness, Scotland to look for lake monsters, there is one in nearby Lake Champlain.’” Ten years after Zarzynski began his research, he complied his findings and published “Champ – Beyond the Legend,” an extensive and detailed
chronicle of all aspects concerning Champ. When I was presented with the opportunity to conduct actual “research” on Champ in the field, it rekindled some deep-seated childhood desire, left over from years of watching “The X-Files.” The occasion seemed like my best chance to find some unexplainable and unidentifiable paranormal creature; this is when I met Scott Mardis.” Scott Mardis allegedly studied at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia before moving to Vermont permanently in 1994. For a while he ran a public access TV show about sea monsters and still actively continues his search for Champ. The crowd of researchers in the area is sparse; Mardis says, “right now as far as I know, it’s just myself.” While the rest of Vermont was searching for a Presidential candidate on Town Meeting Day, I planned to meet Mardis at the Echo Center in Burlington. To ensure that I recognized him, he told me, “I look like Jerry Garcia.” As I pulled up to the nearly deserted lakefront on that gray and dreary Tuesday morning, he was right. Long grey hair, beard, wire-rimmed glass, and wearing a dirty pair of sneakers without laces, he casually stood next to a canvas briefcase while taking pulls off a bottle of Coke. Not knowing what or who to expect, I had filled the pockets of a dingy pair of Carharts with my tape recorder, flask, pocketknife and a fully charged cell phone. Mardis turned out to be completely harmless. After introducing ourselves, I eagerly asked what kind of research we would be doing, only to be let down when he told me that he didn’t perform research in the winter. Instead, we opted to discuss Champ in a local coffee shop overlooking the lake. He began to unpack the bag he brought with him, pulling out various books, folders of photocopies, news and journal articles and even several rubber dinosaur figures that he arranged neatly on the table between us. A typical day of research, of which Mardis said, consists of “basically just standin’ there starin’ at the water lookin’ for stuff.” He said his lone possible sighting occurred “in 1994, with binoculars from Battery Park. I saw it; what looked like a huge black back sticking out of the water.” When he’s not scanning the waters from his usual perch on the bluffs by North Beach, Mardis half jokingly said he’s usually “partying, rockin’ out.” In his free time, he plays in the local band “Red Triangle,” named for the area off the coast
of Northern California known for prevalence of shark attacks. He said their sound is similar to Black Sabbath and The Allman Brothers. While Mardis may not fit the profile of a legitimate scientific researcher, we talk about the logistics of the possibility of Lake Champlain containing a monster. He proposes the theory that if the lake monster “is land locked, that automatically says you have to have a breeding population and [he] wouldn’t think there would be a very large population,” he said. “There would have to be enough to sustain a population over time, which I’m guessing is somewhere in the neighborhood — this is a rough guess — of twenty individuals at any given time.” This suggests that a group of lake monsters inhabit Lake Champlain, which is kind of unsettling to think about. Also, if either a Plesiosaur became trapped in what would become Lake Champlain, when the area was cut off from the sea, Mardis said it “would either have to have adapted to fresh water or die.” If this were the case, then why haven’t there been more documented sightings? “I think these animals are seen far less then the general public seems to think they are,”
said Mardis. But Mardis strongly believes that sooner or later, one of these creatures will be captured. He worries what will result, saying the initial reaction would be “pandemonium probably, it’s definitely going to be a media circus and the scientific community will most likely step in and take it away from people like me who are doing any kind of research.” The search for “Champ” has a tendency to become life-consuming. A few eyewitnesses-turned-researchers are victims of a cycle, which I keep noticing in my own research: see Champ, spend rest of life looking for Champ. Mardis also seems to realize this, saying, “I happen to think that I don’t put enough energy into it so I don’t become obsessed with it. That’s not healthy. There’s a lot of researchers that have just concentrated on this and become obsessed with it and their cheese starts to slide off their cracker. I don’t want to wind up like that.” I have my own theories on what Champ is, but so does everyone who has heard the legend. For now, it will remain a legend, it is a myth that, over time, will continually grow with each sighting or
strange occurrence on the shores of Lake Champlain. Hopefully, it will be accepted by a younger generation who will pick up the burden of performing more research because what little testing and investigation taking place has not even scratched the surface. Champ exists only through its reputation and in the minds of the people who believe in its existence. Real or fake, Champ is a part of Vermont and its history; like Sandra Mansi said “it belongs to the people of Vermont,” and has touched the lives of so many residents of this rural state. Something that Scott Mardis said stuck with me while I was conducting all of this research. One of the final things he said was that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” This may be enough of the answer I had been looking for. I may never experience whatever is out in Lake Champlain, but the scores of those who claim that they have, stands as reasonable proof that some abnormal creature is lurking in the murky waters. ANDREW DETULLIO PHOTOS EMILY SEGAL
not just for hippies Look out pesticides and sweatshops; ecofashion is gonna wipe you out (and that’s a GOOD thing). In an increasingly globalized world, we as consumers lose touch with the men, women, children, and natural resources that go into the clothing we wear. We know if our shirt is made of cotton, wool, polyester, or one of the other hundreds of blends of fabrics used in today’s clothing industry, but we are often unaware of just how they are made. How clothing is manufactured in today’s world greatly affects both people and nature. As it stands, the environmental impact of most major textile production is scandalous and atrocious. Eco-fashion is a fast-growing industry concerned with sustainability. Companies worldwide are increasingly taking issues of social and environmental justice into account with respect to the origin and manufacturing of their products. According to Lynda Grose, founder of the Center for Sustainable Design in the UK, nonorganic cotton is one of the most environmentally controversial textiles grown in the world, because of the high rate of pesticide and herbicide use. Cotton farming accounts for 25 percent of global insecticide use. This extensive use of pesticides and herbicides has a devastating effect, as one can imagine, on the health of water sources, wildlife populations, plant life diversity, and farm
Pants: Covet licorice linen chambray pant $112 Shirt: Covet Graphite Tencel Tank w/ silk panel $64 Necklace: Toca by Marzio Fiorini Bag by Mat and Nat
workers, especially within developing nations where much of the world’s cotton is grown. Similarly, sheep used for non-organic wool production are regularly sprayed with “carcinogenic organophosphates” which remain on the clothing and are often the cause of skin irritation. [I cannot be the only one who thinks that there is something gravely wrong with spraying a live animal with poison… and that’s not even taking into account our own health issues upon wearing this clothing.] So, what is the eco-fashion craze doing to change the face of the fashion industry? Focus has shifted to the use of more sustainable and environmentally friendly fabrics and materials, along with more responsible business practices. Hemp has arisen as a preferred alternative textile to cotton. It is a wondrous resource that, according to HempNation.com, grows quickly, replenishes its own soil with nutrients and nitrogen, and requires little to no pesticides. Even better, hemp is soft, versatile, and durable (and not just for hippies)! Other textiles, such as organic cotton, recycled plastics, bamboo, organic knit furs such as alpaca, wool, angora and more, are becoming popular and more pervasive in the world of sustainable fashion, as well. Even in our own little crunchy city of Burlington, eco-fashion is a fast-rising trend. After trolling around some of Burlington’s stores, there is, however, less eco-friendly garb to be found than one would expect. That said, shop owners are eagerly looking in the eco-direction. By now, we should all be familiar with American Apparel and their progressive business practices. But American Apparel just committed to buying half a million pounds of BASIC cotton, which, as reported by Discovery News, uses 70 percent less pesticides and is grown in California just a few hours from the factory. Other clothing companies concerned with sustainability include prAna, patagonia, Mission Playground, and iPath. Even Levis has a new line, Levis eco. Most of these major companies are even available in Burlington and can be found at Climb High, The Outdoor Gear Exchange (a.k.a. OGE), The Ski Rack, and Eastern Mountain Sports. The Hempest is a great spot to get all kinds of hemp products — from underwear to skirts, hoodies, pajamas, jackets, shoes and bags. There is also a small sampling of eco-friendly fashions in locally owned businesses. Sweet Lady Jane carries James Jeans, a company that uses organic cotton, natural indigo dyes and sundrying methods to produce different fades and levels of softness. Tribeca carries Covet, which uses organic
Her Pants: It Jeans Pant Steale Peace High Rise Jean $162 Jacket; Covet licorice checked cropped trench $130 Him Pant: It Jeans Pant Dark Oxygen Dao Jeans $78 Shirt: White Tournament Crew $68 Sweater: Covet Navy Bamboo/ Cloth Hoody $98
cotton, bamboo and soybean yarns. The clothing is extremely soft and, according to the store manager, “Lasts forevah!” They also carry matt & nat, a vegan handbag company for those who are concerned with addressing animal cruelty but still want très chic bags. The Lotus Shop on College Street also features a number of organic cotton yoga and athletic wear lines, including those heavenly rolltop leggings that are now worshipped for their nomuffin-top waistline. They also stock great vegan handbags made by Crystalyn Kae in Seattle. This store is a real treasure trove and a great addition to Burlington. We are lucky to live during a time when big businesses are becoming enlightened to the importance of environmental protection and the new generations’ desire to stay green. Consumers: demand more ecological clothing, the supply will follow. When satisfying the urgent need to drop some cash and shop, be conscious of what you are picking up and feel good about the products you buy. Ask store clerks some questions and tell them what you want. They may just have it or they might get it for you. In any case, start to put a little more green into your closet, especially as you drop all those green bills on this seasons hottest must-haves. DEVIN KLEIN PHOTOS BY JASON GOLD
Steez: Style With Ease
Makin’ and Takin’ Since ’97
How successful could a business be when their marketing plan consisted of posters of dogs humping, a gorilla suit, Mark McGwire, and a Church Street KoolAid stand? Steez, however, is doin’ it and doin’ it well. Hidden away on the second floor above the touristy crowds of Church Street, Steez has been bringing fresh threads to Burlington youth for nearly a decade. Started as an artistic foray by Fattie B, a Burlington MC and former member of BELIZBEHA, who printed tees of his own design and sold them on the Internet. Fattie hooked up with NYC transplant Jordan Boyea and they took his LLC and went into business. Fattie had the art skills, and Jordan had a few connects with brands like LRG and Mixwell. “We were at this little closet spot,” Boyea said. “We were there for less than a year. We couldn’t do it, there was no traffic.” Fast-forward to today and they’re upstairs hidden away above the bustling crowds of Church Street. The shop is immaculate, a neon tribute to all things hip-hop. Wood floors and simple, clean racks of product and Fattie’s requisite canvases, something like Warhol meets
Fab Five Freddy, line the walls. The sound system is always pumping out some slinky reggae, or some roots mid-’90s hip-hop. The place just oozes cool. And just like any cool kid chillin’ in the corner, it’s almost as if the guys at Steez don’t want you to know about them. “90% of the people that shop on Church Street wouldn’t shop at a place like this,” Boyea said. “We like keeping it a little bit quiet.” But they keep it small, and things continue to pop off big, moving new brands in and out and sticking to the few trusty standards. The store just picked up a new line by Japanese headturner, MHI, and is now looking to expand its female clientele with the introduction of a new women’s brand, MadeMe. “Women right now are gonna be the new shit for streetwear culture,” Boyea said. By keeping things small, they can keep overhead low as well as build a relationship with nearly every kid who comes through the shop. The shop has a mass e-mail and text message list and Boyea admits that he gives a lot of the clients his personal number so they can get a hold of him at any time. “I try to keep it as personal as possible,” he said.
They also have their hands in the local scene, showcasing their own house brand, Steez, as well as local brands like Create, Build & Destroy. Boyea sees kids working hard and remembers himself ten years ago when all he wanted to do was look good and push the culture but couldn’t afford it. With that in mind he regularly tosses Steez tees to young Burlington talent who will rep it when they are DJing a set downtown or the like. But New England is tough; there isn’t the same support as there are in the cultural hotspots of NYC, LA, and Miami. “That New England mentality – it’s very tunnel vision,” Boyea said. “If there is something new and [they] don’t know anything about it, then that’s scary.” And that’s the biggest problem; pushing the kids to what’s new before it makes it into the rap videos; it’s a select market. But Steez is steadfast in their commitment to pushing streetwear fashion forward, for the kids. “They have passion, they love the fashion side of it, more than the fashion side of it, they love the art,” Boyea said. CONNOR BOALS
the Très Chic rundown trends for Spring/Summer ’08 DON’T THROW AWAY YOUR SKINNY JEANS. Now that spring has officially arrived, un-tuck them from your boots and show off a spiffy pair of flats. To really bring the look up-to-the-minute, grab some in a distressed grey wash. They’ll go with everything and are the perfect compliment to this seasons graphic floral prints. WIDE LEG TROUSERS ARE HERE. The 70’s are back for a look that’s sexy, yet lady like. Tuck in a t-shirt with a deep-v neckline or unbutton your blouse an extra notch or two. Best of all, they look great with gladiator sandals, pointy flats, platforms or stilettos. There’s no way to go wrong here, though if you choose to put a belt on, opt for a super-skinny style in a fun texture, such as a patent python. Throw on those aviators (à la the “Charlie’s Angels” babes) and you are set to rock. GO FOR A PRINT- you have two choices here: FLORAL and ARTSY. Spring = florals, and while Spring ’08 is no exception, you certainly don’t wish to look as though you stole your 8-yearold-cousin’s Easter dress. Or Grandma’s couch. The easiest way to bloom this season is with big, retro-graphic prints in simple palettes, such as the classic black and white. Bold and versatile, anyone can
Bold solids. Studded leather. Patchwork dresses. Cosby sweaters (yes: Cosby sweaters). With the dizzying array of outrageous styles strutting down the runway in recent weeks, what’s a girl to do? Relax fashionistas; phoebe. is here to help you make sense of Spring ’08, with five trends that will have you breezing through the upcoming months in street-worthy style.
pull them off, and the less overtly “Easterdress” your pattern; the longer you can wear it. Across the catwalks, dresses and tops resembled wearable paintings. Slightly edgier, brush strokes add splashes of color and style, though, as with florals, it’s safer to take the “less-is-more” approach. For the curious-yet-cautious consumer, look for monochromatic prints. Keep the rest of your look mellow and street-worthy with dark jeans and minimal accessories. CHANNEL YOUR INNER GODDESS with a draped tunic or dress. Part Ancient Rome, part flapper, draped dresses are easy to wear and elegant at the same time. Avoid anything too dark or too bright: the look is soft, feminine and ethereal. Accessories should be delicate and simple: metallics are fantastic with a neutral palette, or go gladiator with a leather belt and this season’s wide strap sandals. SHEER GENIUS means a gauzy blouse. Think 1950’s pin-up girl in pale pinks or black and dress it up accordingly with a pencil skirt and platform pumps, although it is just as pretty with jeans and ballet flats. Have fun going glam with retro patent leather, leopard prints or rhinestones!
Keep the following in mind as you reassess your wardrobe and consider adding new pieces: IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS: Accessories are everything, as well as the easiest (read: cheapest) way to bring your look into this year. SHOES Gladiator sandals are back with wider straps. Keep them simple and unembellished in gowith-everything neutrals and metallics. Bright flats will jazz up jeans in a flash! Try a hot yellow pair with gray denim. BELTS They’re everywhere in classic brown and black, and should be worn over everything from jackets and dresses to t-shirts and button-downs. The new look is not as wide. Opt, instead, for one an inch or two wide, or a longer, skinnier wrap-around style. JEWELRY Grab an armful of bracelets (literally)! The best are bright and bold in emerald green, royal purple, vivid red and gold. The rest of your jewelry should be understated if you wear any at all. SUNGLASSES: Indispensable in summer, the looks are still retro with huge windshield lenses. Aviators never go out of style, but if you’re feeling adventurous, throw on a pair of super-retro ‘horn-rims’ (think Tom Cruises’ Wayfarers in Risky Business) in a bright red or turquoise. TAYLOR SEVERNS
CONCRETE RUNWAY Winter Fashion Sets on Burlington
Photography by Bobby Bruderle Styling by Magdalena Jensen
Sweater – Sweet Lady Jane Bralette – Sweet Lady Jane Shorts – Maven Necklace – Ecco Shoes – Stella
Jacket – Maven Tee Shirt – Tribeca Jeans – Maven Kicks – Maven Hat – Steez Shades – Courtesy of Jordan Boyea Special thanks to Timmy, the Welsh Corgi
Blouse – Sweet Lady Jane Camisole – Ecco Necklace – Ecco
Jacket – Tribeca Tee Shirt – Steez Bracelet – Stylist’s own Glasses – Courtesy of Jordan Boyea
Hoodie – Maven Tee Shirt – Maven Jeans – Maven Kicks – Maven
Left to Right: on Kate: Jacket – Steez Tank Top – Sweet Lady Jane Leggings – Steez Heels – Stella Necklace – Stella Clutch – Tootsies
on Jake: Sweatshirt – Maven Shorts – Maven Shoes – Maven Hat – Maven on Kendall: Shirt – Maven Camisole – Ecco Jeans – Maven Heels – Stella Necklace – Tribeca Clutch – Tribeca Bracelets – Stylist’s own
on Jake: Cardigan – Steez Tee – Steez Jeans – Steez Hat – Steez Frames – Courtesy of Jordan Boyea Kicks – Maven on Kendall: Camisole – Ecco Top – Monelle Shorts – Monelle Shoes - Stella
Hoodie – Sweet Lady Jane Tee – Steez Skirt – Sweet Lady Jane Shoes – Stella Bracelets – Stylist’s own NEXT PAGE Left to Right: on Jake: Shirt – Tribeca Slacks – Tribeca Shades – Tribeca Flip Flops – Model’s Own on Kate: Dress – Ecco Heels – Stella Necklace - Ecco on Kendall: Dress – Monelle Heels – Stella Bracelets – Stylist’s own
a practical guide (as seen in phoebe.) goods Battery Street Jeans Exchange 7 Marble Avenue Burlington, VT 05401 802.865.6223 Bern Gallery 135 Main Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.865.0994 Blue Buddha Tattoo 3 Main Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.951.2583 Ecco 61-63 Church Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.860.2220 eccoclothes.com The Hempest 137 Saint Paul Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.658.4449 hempest.com The Lotus Shop 197 College Street Burlington, VT 05401 Maven 151 Cherry Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.859.1510 mavenvt.com Monelle 75 Church Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.657.4075 shopmonelle.com Steez Teez 104 Church Street Suite 2A Second Floor Burlington, VT 05401 802.863.3199 steezteez.com Stella 96 Church Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.864.2800 stella-shoes.com
Sweet Lady Jane 40 Church Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.862.5051 sweetladyjane.biz Tootsies 192 College Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.658.6006 tootsies.com Tribeca 150 Church Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.861.2784 tribeca-clothing.com
food Four Corners of the Earth Deli 310 Pine Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.657.3869 Halvorsonâ€™s Upstreet CafĂŠ 16 Church Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.658.0278 Magnolia Bistro 1 Lawson Lane Burlington, VT 05401 802.846.7446
drink Radio Bean 8 North Winooski Avenue Burlington, VT 05401 802.660.9346 Switchback Brewing Company 160 Flynn Avenue Burlington, VT 05401 802.651.4114
music The Aztext myspace.com/theaztext The Smittens email@example.com smittens.com myspace.com/thesmittens
services Big Heavy World 215 College Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.865.1140 bigheavyworld.com Bread and Puppet Theatre 753 Heights Road Glover, VT 05839 802.525.3031 or 802.525.1271 breadandpuppet.org Green Mountain CarShare greenmountaincarshare.org [coming at the end of May] The Intervale Center 180 Intervale Road Burlington, VT 05401 802.660.0440 intervale.org ReCycle North 266 Pine Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.658.4143 recyclenorth.org Spectrum Youth and Family Services [Various location, but drop-in center is:] 177 Pearl Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.862.5396 spectrumvt.org